I’m a firm believer that radio’s future lies with streaming and mobile – not HD Radio.
But I must preface that by voicing concern with Triton Media Group’s recent acquisition of Ando and Spacial, which were announced in a one-two punch just prior to the NAB Radio show convo and the RAIN Summit in Philadelphia last week.
These mergers provide Triton a vested interest in companies that control all aspects of producing revenue to on-line radio.
Triton’s backed by Oaktree Capital Management.
I’m curious how one company can legitimately provide streaming radio (either through hosting or software), sell advertising and also be an on-line ratings service.
The way I read it, these mergers provide Triton a vested interest in companies that control all factors of producing revenue to on-line radio.
That’s a lot of power and control for Mike Agovino, the CEO of Triton and following these mergers, the Capo di tutti capi of on-line radio.
Agovino’s been in the radio biz for 25 years and is a former resident of the Clear Channel-owned Katz Radio and Katz Interactive, COO of Clear Channel Radio Sales, and co-COO of Interep National Radio. Small world.
Keep in mind that those under the Triton umbrella worked out a collective deal with the Record Industry
And this is strictly the Triton cartel we’re dealing with here. I said it in July and I’ll say it again.
SoundExchange, which is the collection arm of the RIAA takes 25 percent of webcasters’ gross revenues – not net - and their take is not limited to just what is earned on-air. If a webcaster sells merchandise, whether it’s T-shirts, coffee
cups, or hats –25 percent gross – right off the top – will go to SoundExchange/RIAA.
The big four label groups – Sony/BMG, Warner Music Group, EMI, and Universal Music Group, through the RIAA will own a 25 percent equity with independent Internet radio stations that play music controlled by the RIAA.
Pay-for-play, payola and other shady deals to manipulate airplay are not illegal for Internet radio. The Big Four will be free to cut side deals – like buying blocks of time for airplay.
It’ll be the RIAA’s version of green - recycling dead presidents.
Follow the money. It always leads to more money.
Now, I’m not saying that Triton would put the lean on the right people to insure that its competitors stay – or become – obscure, so as not to be a hindrance.
But it could easily do so if it wanted to.
If that’s the ticket, the future of Internet radio in the U.S. – particularly independent stations – and start-ups yet to come could be slim to none.
If you have an edge in business, you take it. I would. You would.
I’m not sure if this falls in the category of smooth operator or shrewd operator or both. Agovino saw the opening and went for it.
I know, I know. You could say Triton’s not a monopoly. There’s TargetSpot. Okay, I said it. Let’s
While terrestrial radio wallowed in its self-inflicted misery at the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia last week, Agovino’s Triton and the new Internet radio cartel were plotting the future.
Terrestrial radio’s streaming audio has already been screwed, blewed, and tattooed beyond recognition by the damaging deal done by David
“Fumbles” Rehr on behalf of the NAB with the RIAA. They ate Fumbles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And they handed terrestrial radio the tab.
But let's not worry.
Now we have Gordon Smith.
If the taxaholics at the RIAA get their way, they’ll tack on a performance fee for music broadcast on traditional AM and FM, too, which will lead to a whole lot of new news and talk formats.
Back to Triton. If I’m reading this deal the wrong way, I’d like to know – but I don’t think I am.