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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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At What Point Does Disruption Disrupt?

Ask any executive in the radio industry and they'll say (publicly) radio is doing fine. In private, you may get another answer.

Read an article by former RAB president Jeff Haley and it appears he believes there's no cause for radio to think there's anything disrupting the industry. (Actually, coming from the man who was at the helm during radio's greatest drop in relevancy, his words are humorous.)
"When did the buggy whip industry figure out its product was being consumed by a niche market? ... When did Kodak decide it should have taken digital a little more seriously?"

Disruption is everywhere. For radio, it's in the form of Pandora, Spotify, Beats Music, etc., etc., etc.

For television and cable, it's packaged as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc., etc., etc.

In music distribution, it's happening at a slower rate, but it's happening! Audio Graphics has a small slice of examples to prove the point.

When the new year began, as in previous beginnings of a new year, I assessed what we do and where focus should be placed for the new days. At the end of 2013, it was a far more dramatic change than at any other time; came online January 15, 1997, so we've just started our 18th year. But, this year, I decided that the radio industry - online and off - simply isn't in a position to adapt new ways.

The thought of being held accountable to advertisers, addressing youth's desire for on-demand content, even simple items like getting the LCD information readout right on the dashboard tuner are still not addressed by the radio industry. How many stations in your area give information on the receiver?

As I wrote in an article on January 6, 2014: "Focus on Radio Industry Fades in New Year." My attention is now fully on indie artists and disrupting a broken music distribution system.

You may think a couple of weeks is not long enough to be making an observation, but Audio Graphics' and our "Intro to Indie Artists" programs have been going for years. I've always held them on the back burner until now, and I'm amazed at how quickly response is building by moving them front and center.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, hundreds of songs have been sent to online radio stations requesting free music from RRadio Music.

In that same time, I've concentrated on updating availability of "Intro to Indie Artists" programs through Apple's iTune and Google's Feedburner: These programs are free to subscribing stations but, most important, they are now free to music fans who are looking for new artists.

Though not near the disruption that Netflix is having on TV, or that which Pandora is having on the radio industry, I can say that the increase in interest from internet radio stations for songs and programs and subscriptions for "Intro to Indie Artists" programs to fans is increasing, quickly.

Disruption begins slowly and usually ends with the disrupted industry asking "what happened?"

Television appears to be addressing disruptive technology. Go online; nearly every network has a means for you to watch its programming. That "House of Cards" won a Golden Globe speaks volumes.

The radio industry is going through motions that make those on the inside think it's moving into digital. It's not. One top consultant has again, this morning, questioned the slowness of radio's adaption to "new."

As for the music industry, it's fought tooth-and-nail since Napster was launched to negate everything the internet stands for. Only, the times are slowly changing, and it is beginning to feel the force of new media.

At what point does disruption actually disrupt an industry?

When did the buggy whip industry figure out its product was being consumed by a niche market? At what point did the typewriter industry realize it was in trouble? When did Kodak decide it should have taken digital a little more seriously? All are good examples of what's happening to music distribution and the radio industry today. Time will answer "when" disruption is realized by each.

Until that point is reached, we all can listen as executives on the defensive continue to tell their troops, "All is O.K. if we just circle the wagons. We can't be distrupted. We've been around too long."

Today's indie introduction is to...
Dance artist Vesterv
sample song

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When an artist has the power to please they should be given a chance to be heard.

Give Vesterv's "Flow" a listen.

Add it to your playlist, free!

There's a large number of new talent waiting to be found, online.

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