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2014黄涛时文阅读(五)

(2013-04-19 09:46:20)
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2014黄涛考研时文阅读(五)

 Is there money in digital radio?

数字广播有钱可赚吗?

    Frank Sinatra knew he was getting a raw deal. He could sing but he was not much of a songwriter, so he never saw a cent when most of his 300 or so singles were played on American radio. He spent years fruitlessly lobbying Congress to change a 1909 royalties law, which requires radio broadcasters to pay composers but not performers. Broadcasters--a more formidable lobby than artists or record labels--have long fought any change, arguing that airtime gives singers free publicity. But this month the artists and labels have had some good news.

    弗兰克·辛纳特拉知道自己正受到不公正的待遇。他虽然歌唱得好,但是他写歌词不在行;因此,尽管他大约300首单曲中的大部分在美国广播电台播放,他却从没拿到过一分钱。一项1909年的版权使用费法要求电台对歌曲作者而不是唱歌者付款,他多年游说国会修改这项法律,但毫无结果。由于广播公司的游说比艺术家或唱片公司更厉害,而且他们长期以来反对这项法律的任何修改,理由是广播免费宣传了歌唱家。但本月歌手与唱片公司终于得到了些好消息。

    On June 5th Clear Channel Communications, America's largest radio broadcaster, announced a deal with Big Machine, a country-music label, to pay performance royalties on all its radio channels, terrestrial (ie, over the air) and digital. The plan is for Clear Channel to pay the label and its artists, who include Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw, a cut of its advertising revenue.

    美国最大的广播公司清晰频道6 月5日宣布与一家乡村音乐唱片公司大机器(Big Machine)达成协议,将为它播出的所有大机器名下的歌曲演出付费,无论歌曲是由地面频道或数字频道播出。根据该计划,清晰频道将按广告收入比例向大机器及其艺术家付费,其中包括泰勒·斯威夫特和蒂姆·麦克罗。

   The agreement indicates that Clear Channel plans to invest more in digital radio, the part of the industry that is growing. But unlike terrestrial broadcasters, digital stations are obliged by a 1998 law to pay fees to artists whenever a song is played. This skewed system has made life painful for digital platforms trying to build an audience, such as Pandora, which pays out more than half of its revenue in music royalties. "We can't make business work online with these rates," says Tim Westergren, founder and chief strategy officer of Pandora. His firm has spent $50,000 this year lobbying Congress to change the law.

    这项协议表明,清晰频道计划增加它在数字广播上的投资,这是一部分正在不断发展的行业。但不像地面广播公司,按照一项1998年的法律规定,无论何时,只要数字电台播出歌曲,它都必须向演唱者付费。这种扭曲的方式让试图招徕听众的数字平台日子很不好过;例如潘多拉公司,它收入的一半以上都用于支付音乐版权费。潘多拉的创建人、首席策略师蒂姆·威斯特格兰说:"版税如此之高,我们没法开展在线业务。"他的公司今年已在游说国会修改法律上花了5万美元。

   Only 2% of Clear Channel's listeners are digital and 98% terrestrial, so the deal looks costly. But Big Machine supplies only a small proportion of Clear Channel's music. And paying a share of ad revenues hurts less than paying per song. The idea is to see what this does to the bottom line before negotiating with other labels.

    清晰频道听众只有2%来自数字广播,另外的98%来自地面广播,因此这项协议看上去代价很高。但大机器的节目在清晰频道播放的音乐中所占比例很小。而且,交出一部分广告收入比按歌付费好受些。清晰频道的打算是,先看看这项协议对净收入的影响后再与其他唱片公司谈判。

   The deal may also reflect anxiety on Clear Channel's part. Its leveraged buy-out in 2008, just before the ad market collapsed, has left it heavily in hock. It has enough cash to keep things humming for a few years, but in 2016 debts of $12.1 billion fall due. The company will probably need a maturity extension. "There's no way to pay that," says Melissa Link of Fitch, a ratings agency. "They need growth."

    这项协议可能也反映了清晰频道方面的担忧。2008年,它在广告市场崩溃前举债收购,这使之负债沉重。几年内它尚有足够的资金周转,但2016年有一笔121亿美元的债务到期。该公司或将需要延期偿债。惠誉评级公司的梅利莎·林克认为:"他们肯定还不了钱,但他们需要发展。"

    All eyes are now watching to see whether Clear Channel can make money from digital radio. It already has iHeartRadio, an internet network launched in 2008, which relies on ads rather than subscriptions. In September 2011 the network began offering customisable playlists, like Pandora. It offers 11m songs, compared with Pandora's 900,000-but has only a tenth of its rival's listeners. The big source of growth is among smart-phone buyers, who account for 70% of Pandora's streaming. Yet Pandora also relies heavily on advertising (only 10% subscribe), and mobiles have proven difficult for ad sales.

    人人都在关注清晰频道是否能通过数字电台盈利。他们已在2008年开通了线上网站"iHeartRadio,该网站靠广告而不是靠听众付费赚钱。2011年9月"网络电台"开始像潘多拉一样提供可由听众点播的播放列表,表中包括1100万首歌。相比之下潘多拉的播放列表中只有90万首歌,但其听众却只有网络电台的十分之一。智能电话买主是发展听众的重大来源,他们占潘多拉听众的70%。但潘多拉对广告的依赖程度也很高(订阅收入仅占10%),并且手机对广告销售不太好。

    Second only to television in its reach, terrestrial radio does not face much of a threat from digital, especially given the royalty burden on digital providers. Air-wave radio has held on to listeners, because it remains free and convenient, particularly for car-bound commuters. Though carmakers are starting to integrate digital-radio platforms, streaming audio can eat up most mobile data plans. It is not expected to steal many listeners soon. But for artists, the Clear Channel deal has hit the right note.

    受众范围仅次于电视的地面电台没有面临太多来自数字电台的威胁,特别是考虑到数字电台需要付出的高额版权使用费后尤其如此。无线电台能够吸引住听众,因为它们的节目依旧免费,而且特别方便驾车上下班的人。尽管汽车制造商正开始在汽车收音机里添加数字无线电平台,但流式音频能击败大部分移动数据计划。人们预期流式音频还不会很快抢走大量听众,但对艺术家来说,清晰频道的协议效果很好。

 

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