Abacast offers song skipping, replacement in live radio streams


Skip RadioAbacast, provider of digital radio streaming and monetization software and services, says its new skip feature enables listeners to skip songs when listening to live radio stations online; Federated Media is partnering with Abacast in the beta release.

Abacast’s patent pending song-skipping technology, code-named “Hammer”, enables listeners to skip songs that they don’t want to hear when listening to live radio stations online.

“If someone wants to skip a song when listening to live radio, up until now they would simply switch to a different station,” said Jim Kott, Senior VP of Products and Marketing. “Abacast’s live stream song skipping technology lengthens listening times and should grow audiences on stations that utilize it.”

Abacast plans to release detailed metrics regarding average listening time and audience growth shortly after the skip feature is released in Q2.

Live stream song skipping works on top of Abacast’s patent pending Cloud Insertion and Personalized Live Radio technologies. When a listener chooses to skip a song that is currently being played, another song from the station’s playlist will be played immediately and in its entirety for that listener. Hammer’s individualized buffering and insertion functionality ensures that the rest of the stream, including songs, DJ’s, and commercials, is played seamlessly and in its entirety as well.

Unique advertising opportunities will be available due to the listener being engaged with the player when choosing to skip songs.

“We are excited to participate in the beta release of live stream song skipping,” said James Derby, Chief Strategy Officer at Federated Media. “With consumers having more choices than ever today, we feel that song skipping will differentiate us from our competitors and more importantly provide our customers and clients a better listening experience.”

RBR-TVBR asked Abacast CEO Rob Green: How many songs can they skip per hour and how does the skip return the listener back to the live stream smoothly?

“The number of skips per hour will be selectable by the broadcaster, and while technically and legally there isn’t a limit per se, we believe the standard at this time will be a max of 6 per hour.   We realize that royalties must be paid on any portion of a song that is played, so there needs to be a limit to the number of skips.  We can also choose to play an ad on a skip event after the first few skips to organically reduce the number of skips.  In short we believe that a policy of allowing a reasonable number of skips per hour will ultimately lead to audience growth and longer listening times.”

He adds, “Regarding how the listener is returned to the live stream smoothly, we have developed a very advanced way of managing individual live streams that basically enables us to time shift an individual listener without any impact to the listener. As a listener skips they become out of sync with the broadcast and at a future point in time we return them to real-time by skipping a whole song later on, skipping non-revenue promo’s, or shortening an ad break. Nothing is discernible to the listener and some songs aren’t skip-able, for example, songs going into or out of a break so as to preserve the continuity of the broadcast.”

Abacast’s software and services drive ad revenue, build listener loyalty, grow audiences, and deliver top-quality user experiences. Abacast was founded in 2000 and currently serves over 200 customers and over 1,000 stations.

RBR-TVBR observation: This puts terrestrial radio streams that much more on par with the Pandoras and Spotifys of this world—and more competitive. Making song skips possible increases TSL/streaming ratings. Whether you do online ad insertion or stream whatever is on-air, the trickle-down effect should increase ratings and offer a better selling proposition to advertisers. The metrics of what songs are skipped should also help the music directors’ efforts immensely.