The European Radio and Internet News (Pending:RAIN) Summit had concluded last November 4, but each attendee took away a valuable tidbit from the largest meet up of Internet radio and online audio professionals. Held in London, the RAIN Summit explored the current trends in digital radio as well as the future of audio in the online world. It was attended by various big names in the audio industry, including representatives from AccuRadio, Spotify, IAB UK, Audio Monitor, Jazzfm, and Audioboom Group PLC (LSE: BOOM), among others.
The RAIN summit kicked off with the first session titled, "Mobile is the New Black" hosted by Paula Fernandez. It tackled the youth's role in shaping audio technology as well as how entertainment and content continue to be at the heart of innovation in digital audio. The panel also agreed that what matters most is the platform rather than the hardware, since getting the Android or iOS platform right can help you connect with audiences using various devices. Tony Moorey of Absolute said, "We have to work hard to engage the audience."
Will Page, Director of Economics at Spotify, delivered the keynote speech at the session titled, "Rockonomics," which discussed how Spotify reached out to its audience by embedding the brand into their lifestyle. He also said that Spotify has teamed up with BBC Playlister for wider reach. Spotify is also moving into digital video through the Spotify Connect Video, with Page urging the audience to "embrace this new move (and) don't avoid it."
After a short networking break, the session resumed with "The Future of Audio," with a panel top billed by Michael Hill of Radioplayer. Hill deviated from the cliché phrase, "Content is king," and instead refocused the buzz word from "content" to "craft," saying that content does not mean anything substantial by itself. "Without craft," he said, "content is not radio." This session was followed by Audio Monitor's infographic presentation about their study titled, "A Share of Ear in the UK," as well as Audio Campaigns' presentation on audio marketing.
Kurt Hanson, founder and publisher of RAIN News took the stage after lunch to give an update on the state of the audio streaming industry. He also discussed the evolution of radio consumption, asking some poignant questions on what to expect in the industry in terms of platforms and services.
The afternoon sessions were mostly focused on monetization of audio content, with panelists like Jurt Edwards from TalkSport, Georgia McGuffie from Radio Works, Steve Hobbs from Amnet UK, and Richard Shotton from ZenithOptimedia. Guy Phillipson stole the show with anecdotes about Queen Victoria, all the while discussing the role of audio in digital media.
Streaming ads were also discussed by Alexandre Saboundjian from Radionomy, Stuart Mays from Global Radio, and Rob Proctor from Audioboom. Proctor emphasized the need for short pre- and post-roll advertising, as 30 seconds of pre-roll video used by YouTube is too long. For Audioboom, the app is all about content and curation aimed at the user's personality.
RAB UK's Mike Tull also took the stage to show everyone how well radio was still doing. The last session closely focused on monetizing streaming, specifically on monetizing existing FM radio.
You can listen to all the audio presentations from the recently concluded summit via the Rain Summits channel at Audioboom.
Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.