It’s finally time for September’s edition of What’s Happening in the World of Radio. The past month came with some exciting news in the online radio, music, and tech industries. In this installment, we will take a look at the decision to leave the CRB’s rates unchanged, Samsung opening their Voice Assistant platform to third-party developers, Periscope’s launch of an audio-only streaming feature, Google Assistant’s bilingualism, and the Sound Education Conference. Keep reading for a quick overview of these exciting industry developments. 

What's Happening in the World of Radio September

U.S. Court of Appeals Decision leaves CRB Rates Unchanged

On Tuesday, September 18th, 2018, The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. upheld the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision on the webcasting rate determination for the 2016 to 2020 period. This decision comes after an appeal was filed by SoundExchange in 2016, who argued that the new rates did not reflect a fair market price for the use of music by online radio stations.

After a 6-week review in 2015 that included 47 witnesses, 660 exhibits, and 12000 pages of documents, the CRB decided on the following royalty rates for the 2016 to 2020 period:

  • The royalty rates on non-subscription, advertising-supported webcasts were set at $0.17 for every 100 songs streamed. ($0.0017 per song)
  • The royalty rates on paid-subscription webcasting services were set at $0.22 for every 100 songs streamed. ($0.0022 per song)

To read more about the ruling on the CRB’s new rates, click here.

Samsung to Open Bixby to Third-Party Developers

Samsung, still new to the booming voice trend, has announced its plan to open its Bixby Voice Assistant platform to third-party developers. They plan to introduce a software development kit at the annual Samsung Developers Conference in November. The development kit will provide resources and documentation to help build apps that use Bixby.

Samsung officially joined the smart speaker race only last month with the introduction of their first smart speaker, the Galaxy Home. Opening up its voice assistant to third parties is a critical move in getting on par with other voice-assistant giants, like Amazon’s Alexa. To read more about Bixby’s upcoming third-party availability, click here.

Twitter’s Periscope Introduces an Audio-Only Live Streaming Option

Periscope, the video streaming mobile app from Twitter, has added a highly-requested audio-only streaming option. Periscope allows users to live stream videos and interact with their viewers through an in-app chat. The app now includes an audio-only streaming feature available for iOS users. It has not yet been disclosed if and when the audio-only streaming feature will be made available for Android users.

The audio-only streams will showcase dynamic video animations instead of a live video feed. These animations, rendered on the device in real-time, will be based on the user’s audio data. If you would like you to know more about the audio-only streaming feature on Periscope, click here.

Google Assistant is Bilingual

Great news for bilingual households! Your Google Assistant has been updated with bilingual support. Users can now set two different languages for their Google Assistant, and it will be able to process inputs and give answers in both languages. Before the update, users could interact with Google Assistant in different languages only by switching the language settings.

At the time of the update launch, language pairs could be chosen from English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. More languages are set to be added in the coming months. To read more about Google Assistant’s new-found bilingualism, click here.  

Sound Education: Highlighting the Educational Value of Podcasts

Sound Education, a new conference scheduled for November this year, aims to highlight the educational potential of podcasts. This 3-day conference, set to be held from the 1st to the 3rd of November 2018, will be hosted by the Harvard Divinity School-run podcast, Ministry of Ideas.

The Sound Education conference will consist of panel presentations, discussions, and talks, including a keynote address by Dan Carlin of Hardcore History. Other scheduled speakers consist of podcasters and academics include Nick Quah of Hot Pod, Jake Shapiro of Radio Public, and Julie Shapiro of Radiotopia, amongst others. Some of the topics to be covered include how audio format can be applied to academia and teaching in both formal and informal learning environments, the structure and sound design for educational podcasts, as well as how to teach specific subjects with audio. If you would like to know more about the Sound Education Conference, click here.

That is all for September’s installment of What’s Happening in the World of Radio. We cannot wait to see the new and exciting developments October will bring, so stay tuned for next month’s installment for more industry-related news.


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