Web Radio News

When I submitted my Records 2 Die 4 selections this past winter, it seemed inevitable that I include a web radio station. Not only had I enjoyed listening to www.techwebsound.com more than anything else last year, but it had exposed me to more new music and led to more music purchases than any other source—by a wide margin.

RRadio Network conducted a survey last month which indicates that I am hardly unique among Internet users. The online radio organization prompted respondants: "Lately, I've been finding most new music on..." and found that 56% cited Internet radio, 25% said broadcast radio, while satellite radio garnered 4%, and file swapping 5%. Of the online listeners, 70% said they were looking for new artists or unsigned bands.

The next survey question asked, "By this time next year, what do you see yourself listening to most?" Here, Internet radio got 58%, broadcast radio 16%, MP3/portable player 12%, and satellite radio doubled to 8%.

It should come as no surprise, then, that last week America Online and XM Satellite Radio announced that they will join forces to create a new online radio service. The companies say that the service "brings together the best of both XM and the AOL Radio Network products and programming to form the world's largest combined digital radio network."

The co-branded service will include a free web radio service, combining 20 XM stations and 130 AOL stations, and will also offer an enhanced "premier" radio service, featuring 70 XM stations plus AOL's stations, available to AOL members at no additional charge and to other web listeners for a monthly fee.

At the same time XM moves some of its programming online—no doubt in an attempt to pick up new listeners from AOL's 100 million users—AOL will offer several of its programs for broadcast to XM's 3.8 million satellite subscribers. The companies say they will also work together to develop new programs and services for the online and satellite outlets.

XM's Hugh Panero notes, "Our philosophy at XM has been to work with strong partners at every level—retail, automotive, and now online—to build awareness and subscriptions for XM." The new services are expected to launch this summer.