February 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm #1057009
Returning from the brink of death, music services Winamp and Shoutcast are now officially with a new owner: Digital audio business Radionomy has acquired the both media player and radio platform from AOL. We understand from a reliable source that it is a cash and share deal, worth between $5 million and $10 million, with AOL taking a 12% stake of Radionomy in the process.
Recall that AOL paid some $80 million for Nullsoft, owner of Winamp and Shoutcast, in 1999.
AOL’s stake will be a financial, not a strategic, investment, I’ve been told.
We had been hearing different reports of a deal in progress or a while now — resulting in a stay of execution for both Winamp and Shoutcast after AOL originally intended to shut them both down by December 20, 2013.
While one of our early reports noted that Microsoft was in the mix, that turned out not to be the case, but here’s an interesting twist: CEO/Radionomy founder Alexandre Saboundjian’s previous company, a telematics firm called Magic Phone, is now a part of Microsoft.
(He sold the company to Tellme, which Microsoft subsequently acquired.)
As implied by a recent discovery of a domain name transfer to Radionomy’s servers, both Winamp and Shoutcast will continue as going concerns.
If AOL — which has been cutting and selling other music holdings in favor of pressing on with other kinds of online content (it owns TechCrunch among other properties) – increasingly seemed like a bad fit for the two services, then its new parent couldn’t be more different.
Adding Shoutcast to Radionomy’s existing assets will make the company one of the biggest players in the radio streaming business, hosting some 60,000 radio stations, or roughly half the online radio stations on the market today.
Meanwhile, Radionomy intends to offer Winamp’s media player just as it is today — with access to those 60,000 stations, but also playback ability for 60 audio and video formats; 6,000 add-ons like skins and plug-ins; and availability in 16 languages.
In both cases, this will be a volume play for Radionomy. Among its other assets is the TargetSpot audio ad network, and the plan will be to use both Shoutcast and Winamp to increase TargetSpot’s inventory, and as everyone knows advertising is a game of scale.
The intention is to continue to develop both products, Saboundjian tells me.
“We want to rebuild the story for Winamp,” he says. “We think the future can be great because the strategy is not just desktop but mobile and cars and so much more.”
He says it was “really interesting” to see how many people are still using a product that has virtually been left to seed by AOL. Every month there are still some 3 million downloads of the software. “Yes, perhaps there has been no special innovation in the last two years, but it is still a very strong community and still appreciated by those users,” he says.
Brusssels- and New York-based Saboundjian says that the acquisition is just of the products and technology. There had been “very small” teams working on both at AOL, but only on a contract basis.
Radionomy has raised some 7 million euros to date and is planning on going for a new round in the month ahead to continue expanding its business.February 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm #1277516
The official announcement from Radionomy…
Radionomy Acquires Winamp and Shoutcast from AOL; Announces Plans for Products. Expanded Network Hosts Half of All Internet Radio Streaming; Will Offer Enhanced Multi-Device Experience with Winamp.
San Francisco, Calif. – January 17, 2014 – Radionomy (Radionomy Group), which provides one of the largest platforms for radio producers and broadcasters and the world’s largest digital audio advertising network through the business combination with TargetSpot, announced that it has acquired media player Winamp and internet radio platform Shoutcast from AOL. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition will give Radionomy exposure to a much larger audience and pave the way for offering Radionomy listeners an enhanced experience.
Winamp: the future of the multi-device experience
The Winamp media player offers the ability to listen to, watch and manage music, video, podcasts and internet radio on desktop and mobile devices, while customizing the experience to personal tastes.
“Winamp is a top independent player that gives millions of people the best player functionality available,” said Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO, Radionomy Group. “Its role is clear in the future evolution of online media – we plan to make the player ubiquitous, developing new functionalities dedicated to desktop, mobile, car systems, connected devices and all other platforms.”
Additionally, Radionomy will give Winamp listeners access to one of the world’s largest networks of online radio stations, spanning numerous music genres and cultures. As the newest member of the Radionomy Group, Winamp now offers:
Access to more than 60,000 internet radio stations
Playback for 60 audio and video formats
6,000 add-ons, including skins, plug-ins, online services and visualizations
Availability in 16 languages.
Tools for managing podcast subscriptions
The Radionomy Network: the world’s choice for streaming online radio
Radionomy allows anyone — from music enthusiast to professional broadcaster — to easily create an online station, complete with advertising, promotion and monetization. The acquisition of Shoutcast will expand Radionomy’s presence, notably in the U.S, making it the source of approximately half of all streamed internet radio worldwide. This will greatly enhance Radionomy producers’ and Shoutcast stations’ ability to build their audiences and monetize their networks with Targetspot, offering access to a much wider range of listeners.
“Radionomy has always focused on creating a unique platform for any radio broadcaster or pure play that enables them to build a large audience and monetize their stream.” said Saboundjian. “With Shoutcast, we have expanded our reach to include roughly half of the world’s online radio streaming, leaving Radionomy well-positioned to change the face of online radio.”
Furthermore, Winamp browsing and streaming capabilities also offer an opportunity to expose more listeners to Radionomy and Shoutcast stations.
“Winamp and Shoutcast are great brands with significant value in the right situation, which Radionomy will provide,” said Susan Lyne, CEO of AOL’s Brand Group. “This is a very positive outcome for the enthusiastic users of these products.”
Radionomy is a free global service that allows radio enthusiasts from around the world to create their own online radio stations. Radionomy’s ground-breaking platform provides the tools for members to broadcast, promote and monetize their own station free of charge. The platform features a wide variety of music and themed stations to discover and listen to. Radionomy stations are more than just playlists – they are produced and run by real people such as music fans, artists, DJs, opinion leaders, comedians and story tellers etc. The Radionomy Group of brands includes Radionomy; TargetSpot, the largest audio ad network in the world; and Winamp: the ultimate media player.February 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm #1277517
It’s a done deal: after earlier rumours, Belgian Internet radio startup Radionomy has confirmed that it has acquired once-popular media player Winamp and streaming software platform SHOUTcast from AOL.
AOL originally said it would close down the legacy music services before the end of last year, but there was a lot of acquisition interest after the announcement, and it seems Radionomy won out.
Belgian business newspaper De Tijd has the scoop (in Dutch, paywall), with Ben Serrure reporting that Radionomy plans to breathe new life into Winamp while significantly expanding its core business with the acquisition of SHOUTcast.
Update: and here’s the official press release announcing the deal.
Update 2: AOL-owned TechCrunch has learned that it indeed involved a cash-and-share deal, worth between $5 million and $10 million, with AOL taking a 12% stake in Radionomy.
Thanks to the SHOUTcast part of the agreement, Radionomy will instantly be able to grow the number of online radio stations it hosts from roughly 7,000 to about 60,000 stations in total.
Last month, Radionomy merged with TargetSpot, a U.S.-based digital audio advertising network.
As for Winamp, it sounds like the people still using the media player despite the lack of updates in recent times can rest easy for now, as Radionomy says it has ‘big plans’ for the product. The company wants to have solid Winamp iOS and Android apps on the market by April, reports De Tijd.
From the press release:
“Winamp is a top independent player that gives millions of people the best player functionality available,” said Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO, Radionomy Group.
“Its role is clear in the future evolution of online media – we plan to make the player ubiquitous, developing new functionalities dedicated to desktop, mobile, car systems, connected devices and all other platforms.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Radionomy co-founder and CEO Alexandre Saboundjian did disclose to De Tijd that the company has raised a new Series B round of funding and that AOL will become a Radionomy shareholder after the transaction closes.
According to its ‘facts sheet’ (PDF), Radionomy raised approximately $6 million in funding in the past. Shareholders include Musicmatic (which will maintain a majority stake in Radionomy and continue to run Jamendo, a ‘free music’ bazaar of sorts) and French investment firm OTC.
De Tijd reports that new investors include Union Square Ventures (Twitter, Etsy, Kickstarter, Foursquare, SoundCloud, etc.) and Bain Capital (DoubleClick, Lala, Gartner, LinkedIn and Shopping.com). This checks out and it is likely a result of the TargetSpot/Radionomy merger – both Bain Capital and USV were TargetSpot investors.
We’ve reached out to Mr. Saboundjian for more information and will update when we hear back.February 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm #1277515
I wonder how they will deal with the issue of the different ways SC and Radionomy work? I know from a young woman in NL who runs an online station via Radionomy that she seems to be limited to MP3s 128k and that there are adverts put into some of her content in some countries, but the system seems to tell her the playout time and how long the adverts will be, other countries do not get ads so she has to fill that time with other music. She is a very intelligent young woman who would not chop up a track with vocals too much or play just 30 seconds of it, so that might mean ad breaks are as long as 3 minutes (or more!) – and I still can’t work out how a live stream could be broadcast without the ads cutting across it very abruptly, unless the system can also show the exact amount of lag between the studio and the server.
I’ve also read other stuff on Radionomy forums which hint that service would not accept the mixed music format of many EDM stations and shows due to copyright issues..February 14, 2014 at 11:26 pm #1277518
I tried to speak to someone at Targetspot last year but they either didn’t respond or our spam filters got the way. Regardless I hope Radionomy will be offering owners new options rather than imposing them…
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