Internet Radio Concert Promotion — 100,000 more attendees, no extra porta-potties

Eighteen years ago this week, in a previous life, George and I helped produce and broadcast Woodstock ’94 (Mudstock), and it was quite an experience, with 350,000 people in attendance. This week, we got to participate in another weekend concert, Outside Lands in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and I marvel at how differently big events can now be covered.

outsidelands logoAt Woodstock, we had dozens of television trucks and vans with satellite uplinks, requiring connectivity to and between the two stages, which was our primary responsibility as “fiber optic gurus”. For the most part, all of these broadcasters were on site to provide live news feeds for networks and local stations, as well as the occasional celebrity interview.  The complexity and cost was huge, while virtually none of the concert entertainment was broadcast live.

Outside Lands Stage - 2012Fast forward to 2012.  Over the last few months, in partnership with TuneIn, we’ve enjoyed exploring how today’s music festivals can build their reach to a worldwide audience, without breaking the budget of the event promoters.  We started out with New York’s Hot 97 Summer Jam hip hop festival in June, helping Emmis Communications promote the event exclusively on TuneIn radio the week leading up to the concert, then live Internet radio coverage of the show, and then best-of the concert the week following.  It was a major hit.

So, with that success, Emmis decided to do similar promotion for their Power 106 concert in Los Angeles later that month. It, too, was a big success.

That brings us to Outside Lands–August 10-12, 2012.  TuneIn assembled the team for this broadcast, with not only Backbone Networks but also a professional broadcast team with deep experience in branded radio stations, RFC Media from Houston, TX.  Unlike Woodstock, this concert was broadcast live, and it required no trucks, no satellite uplinks and a minimal crew…all with just “a Mac and a mic”.RFC Media Tent - Outside Lands

Results?  It was unquestionably another big success.  While Golden Gate park only holds about 65,000 people for an event like this, through Backbone Internet radio and TuneIn, over 100,000 unique listeners around the world tuned in for nearly half a million listener sessions.  What amazes me is that a regional concert in San Francisco can pull listeners from all over the world, as you can see in the listener cluster “hot spot” map for the concert week (click to enlarge).

Outside Lands Listener MapLike every other business activity, concert promotion has now been changed by the Internet, specifically Internet radio in this case. Going forward, we will learn even more about how to have the greatest impact and highest return on a very small investment.  We’ll share that with you.

Next up for TuneIn, RFC Media and Backbone: The Bumbershoot Music Festival in Seattle on Labor Day Weekend.

Peace, love and radio.

Now for the Live Remote – A Huge Concert, Free on the Internet

Last week we told you about the launch of New York’s Hot 97 Summer Jam Internet-only radio station, promoting the upcoming, annual Summer Jam concert this Sunday, June 3rd.  Well, TuneIn and Emmis Communications just revealed that for the first time ever the concert itself will be broadcast free from the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to the world, exclusively on this same TuneIn station.

As you’ve probably figured out, Hot 97’s Summer Jam station, including all Internet radio broadcast and production, is supplied by Backbone Networks, using Backbone’s unique cloud-based broadcast and automation infrastructure.  The broadcast-from-anywhere, “live remote” capability of Backbone’s infrastructure is what enables professional broadcasters to simplify their event-based Internet radio production, using equipment as basic as “a Mac and a mic”.

The TuneIn connection is what makes a station like this so easy to find and far reaching. “TuneIn takes people places. This collaboration with HOT 97 speaks to the power of TuneIn to expand unique experiences like Summer Jam to wider audiences, taking people to events and places in ways that were never before possible,” said John Donham, CEO of TuneIn. “It is very fitting that HOT 97, one of the few truly global U.S. radio brands, team up with TuneIn to bring HOT 97’s Summer Jam to people all over the planet! We are delighted to be able to do so,” added Rick Cummings, President Programming, Emmis Communications.

Hot97 Summer JamThe Hot 97 Summer Jam 2012 concert kicks off at 7pm EST, with the Festival Village stage beginning at 2pm on Sunday (June 3).

Fans can access the free channel on TuneIn by searching “Summer Jam” on any of the 150 TuneIn platforms including smartphones apps, connected vehicle dashboards, Internet home entertainment systems and online at

TuneIn Creates Internet Radio Channel For Hot 97 Summer Jam

HOT97-Summer-2012Congratulations to our partner TuneIn and Emmis Communications on the successful launch of their Internet only HOT 97 Summer Jam station in New York City.  Radio Ink mentions that the new channel will feature uncensored and uninterrupted music from from event headliners, including; Nicki Minaj, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and Trey Songz. Listeners will also hear archived performances from past Summer Jams.

TuneIn, a free service that lets people listen to music, sports and news from all over the world, has partnered with the #1 station for hip hop and R&B in the tri-state area, WQHT-FM, “HOT 97” to create a first-of-its-kind station, showcasing the world’s premier hip hop festival, HOT 97 Summer Jam. For the first time, fans can experience nearly two decades of HOT 97’s Summer Jam from anywhere in the world, on any of the 150 devices and apps which carry the TuneIn service.

This collaboration enables HOT 97 to expand the content it distributes to hip hop fans and illustrates how broadcasters are using the TuneIn platform to distribute programming which can help expand their over-the-air brand.  The radio industry is rapidly transitioning to digital formats, and traditional radio stations are working quickly to adapt and compete in an evolving streaming and digital landscape.

We expect that this will be come a new model for traditional terrestrial stations to follow extending their programming within their community and enabling them to be heard anywhere, without restrictions or boundaries.

Rethink Music – Radio’s changing place in the market

rethink music logoI went to the Rethink Music Conference last week.  It was great to catch up with people and to meet some new ones.  Overall there was much hope for the future but still a lot of grousing about the current state of the music business.

The biggest complaint was that performers were not getting paid enough by Spotify.  One tweet said, “I don’t know how any artist can be psyched on #spotify after that presentation #rethinkmusic no real signs of how this ser…“.  This perception by artists is a dramatic shift in the music industry from traditional music promotion.

As Seth Godin, the Keynote speaker, noted the first day of the conference, the music industry is not in trouble, the record industry is.  In this YouTube video with Ariel Hyatt he notes, “there has never, ever, ever, ever been a better time to be an independent artist”.

he continues to actually answer the question about how the artist should be psyched.  “The internet is radio without having to pay the programmer”.

The trouble is many do not perceive plays by Spotify, Pandora, Rdio or other music and Internet radio services are promotional.  This changed with the belief that performers should be compensated for non-interactive streams and enshrined in the rates charged by SoundExchange.

Where terrestrial radio pays $0 for performance royalties those that broadcast via satellite or the Internet must pay much more.  Pandora, while generating lots of revenue, is running at a loss due to the burden or their royalty payments.  With the SoundExchange rates going up in the future some believe that you can not create a music service with non-interactive streams that is profitable.

Yet if you examine what happens with new artists that get played on Pandora their music sales often go up.  PandoraSpotifyCollege Radio and many other broadcast media are inexpensive promotional platforms unlike anything the music industry has ever seen.  If you look at the results of the Hackathon associated with the Rethink Music conference you see that there is still a lot of creativity being applied to the music industy. If the music industry would just embrace the new broadcast medium with old eyes about how promtion works we could create an even more vibrant music industry without the middlemen between an artist and their fans.

Three College Radio Conferences in One Month. First, IBS in NYC

March has been a wonderful month of travel for Backbone, especially in support of the IBS Student Radio Network.  We put a lot of miles on our airline and Amtrak cards, hopping from New England to New York, to Texas and back to NYC, talking to students and media advisers at the IBS National ConferenceSouth by Southwest (SxSW) and the College Media Association’s NYC12 conference. I don’t have room to cover them all in this post, so I’ll just try to run through them one at a time in separate entries.

IBS NYC 2012
IBS LogoThe Intercollegiate Broadcasting System’s annual National Conference at New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania pulled in students and advisers from all over the country, the largest contingent being a dozen who flew in from Champs Charter High School in Los Angeles.  Champs’ AER station is currently the IBS-SRN’s most listened-to station, and with this kind of involvement, we can see why.  Plus, with so many compelling sessions running simultaneously, it takes a crew to cover them all adequately.

One thing we took away from this year’s conference is that we need another live broadcast position/station on our Radio Row, where students sign up for a 1-hour air shift on their own station or on the designated demo Internet radio station.  The signup sheet filled up in a very short period, and we want to accommodate all who are interested.

Because of the conference schedule, I didn’t personally get to see all of the live broadcasts, but the ones I did see were animated and great radio.  One of my favorites was the SUNY Fredonia onairFredonia group (pictured below) who jumped into the Backbone-driven Mac station for the first time and made it look like they were veterans of the system within a couple of minutes.  My other was the polished high school crew from Champs who interviewed Steely Dan’s guitarist Jon Herington and his band and persuaded them to do a live mini-concert for their AER audience.

We want to thank Cedric Watson and Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus (member station WLIU-BK) for hosting our annual pre-conference Network affiliates meeting. And thanks for giving all of the attendees a tour of your very cool facilities.  Of course, the meeting was followed by a tour of Brooklyn’s Junior’s Cheesecake across the street.

It was great to see representatives from so many of our stations’ schools, including Towson, CUNY Lehman, Baton Rouge’s Tara High School, College of the DesertSimmons College and so many more. Thanks to all who attended and participated, and we’ll see all of you at a regional IBS conference near you in the fall.

Kickstart The American Radio Revolution!

I want to tell you a little bit about a project we are supporting as they near the end of their fund-raising effort.  It is “The American Revolution”, how a radio station, politics and rock and roll changed everything.  It is about the start of WBCN and free form radio in the greater Boston area in the late 1960s.

Bill Lichtenstein - Boston HeraldFor the past five years, as hundreds of supporters have shared their personal collections of rare tapes, photos, and memorabilia, Lichtenstein Creative Media has been producing a feature-length documentary film, The American Revolution.  This innovative Kickstarter fund raising campaign will provide the support needed to complete the documentary, which is being produced for theatrical and PBS release in 2012 by the Peabody Award-winning Lichtenstein Creative Media, in conjunction with the non-profit Filmmakers Collaborative.

The effort has mobilized the public and press in an extraordinary way.  See the WCVB Chronicle story at and the amazing story in the Herald. Support on-line has also been unbelievable.  You can get a flavor if you look at the comments on the Kickstarter site. I hope you can help and we look forward to helping to delivering streaming audio for this project shortly!!

CMJ Events, Broadcasting from Fontana’s and Radio Panel

Pirate Promotions LogoIf you are attending CMJ then stop by and visit Backbone Networks.  Today we will be broadcasting live at from Fontana’s with Pirate! from Noon to 6:00PM at the Pirate! Party Extravaganza.  Of course you are invited. Just RSVP on the facebook event page.  Come on by and learn about running a live remote in the Internet age.  While you are at it talk to George about the things we have been working on in the last year with our partners.

The schedule for today is:

12:00 – Doors Open
12:30 – The One & Nines
1:20 – The Great Book Of John
2:10 – Army Navy
3:00 – Fairmont
3:50 – Nick Diamonds (of Islands)
4:40 – Hollerado
5:30 – Curfew

Stations Broadcasting live include:

Long Island University (WLIU), Brooklyn, NY

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ

Emmanuel College, Boston, MA

Manhattan Marymount College, New York NY

CJLO, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Breakthrough Radio, New York, NY

You can listen in live on TuneIn Radio.

Tomorrow Backbone’s George Capalbo will be on the Digital Music Servicing, Radio Revamp panel at CMJ.  The session is at 2:00PM and will cover content distribution and broadcasting in the Internet age.  Hope to see you there!

WLIU Broadcasts Live from CMJ 2009

Thanks to the IBS-SRN members at WLIU-BK, Long Island University, Brooklyn, for their dynamic demonstration of Internet radio broadcasting at the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival in New York City, October 20-24th. This was the first time our network came to exhibit at CMJ, and we’ll be back for many more of these great events.


IBS Fall Palooza Live Music Weekend, Nov. 6th-7th

To kick off the 2009-2010 IBS Student Radio Network broadcast year, we are proud to announce IBS Fall Palooza 2009, Friday November 6th, and Saturday November 7th.
What is IBS-Palooza?
It is a weekend of local, live music on member stations of the IBS Student Radio Network, simulcast across the IBS Student Radio Network to kick off the fall 2009 semester.
IBS Palooza - Fall 2009
The goals of IBS Palooza are:
  • Use IBS Palooza as a recruiting tool for getting volunteers to work at your station.
  • Help local college bands get airplay– make your station important for your community.
  • Raise some money for worthy charities local to you.
  • Have some fun (of course!)

IBS Fall Palooza 2009 happens on the first full weekend of November, Friday November 6th and Saturday November 7th. Currently the following schools are signed up or considering a broadcast as part of the event:

  • Simmons College Boston
  • All Independent Radio from Art Institute, Boston
  • Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • WFNM – Franklin & Marshall College Radio, Lancaster PA
  • Goucher College Radio, Towson MD
  • KXZY Oklahoma State, Stillwater Oklahoma
  • Roosevelt University, Chicago
  • Simmons College, Boston
  • XTSR – Towson University Radio, Towson MD
  • WLIU-BK – Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus Radio
The ground rules for IBS-Palooza are very straightforward:
Live local bands from your college, broadcast live on your station. All organized by you– content is of your choice.
Each station will agree on a 1-2 hour time slot, and we’ll take care of everything else. You’ll just broadcast normally on your station, and we’ll pick it up and rebroadcast it on the IBS Radio Network station ‘IBS-Palooza’.
Each station should elect one or more charities to be a beneficiary of the broadcast. You’ll put a link in your stream to a place where people listening can click through to donate to that charity.
You’ll be able to simulcast the rest of the event on your station if you want to.
You need to be a member of the IBS Student Radio Network (IBS-SRN) to participate.   For more information about the IBS Student Radio Network, you can sign up at

IBS-Palooza College Music Event initial planning

After the success of the initial IBS-Palooza in September, 2008, many member schools asked “When can we do that again?” We’re proud to announce “IBS-Spring Palooza” to be held on Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th, 2009.

What is IBS-Palooza? It is a weekend of local, live music on member stations of the IBS Student Radio Network, simulcast across the IBS Student Radio Network to kick off the fall 2008 semester.

We’ll be discussing IBS-Spring Palooza in detail at the IBS Affiliates Meeting at the IBS National Conference in NYC, on March 5th, and also during the rest of the IBS National Conference March 6th-8th at the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC. If you are not already signed up for the conference, it is not too late to do so.

The IBS Affiliates meeting will be held on Thursday evening, March 5th at the studios of IBS Affiliate WLIU-BK at Long Island University, Brooklyn campus.

IMPORTANT NOTE to affiliates attending the affiliates meeting: IBS has acquired a limited number of tickets for a Thursday night (3/5) live concert featuring The Roots, taking place at the Highline Ballroom, which is not too far away from the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC. The concert is at 11:30 PM (after the affiliates meeting). Demand for tickets is especially high, as The Roots will be the house band on the Jimmy Fallon show starting that same week.

Thanks to everyone who has already signed up to have their stations be a part of the second major IBS SRN Network Broadcast – ‘IBS- Spring Palooza‘.