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An Indie Artist Pipeline to Internet Radio
Monday, February 25, 2013
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Online vs. Broadcast Radio Industry

It's taken 16 years to admit there's not much hope for the broadcast radio industry. Watching it self-destruct through hubris and cost-cutting while its new media competition spends money testing, failing, and repeatedly trying something novel is painful - but undeniably true.

This is an opportunity the internet radio industry should not let slip by.
"How data is used to entice fans and advertisers through new media is the bait today. Let the radio industry 'count clicks.' That's old school thinking used by old school managers."

If there's ever been an "us vs. them" scenario, it's being built by internet radio stations today. Offering what youth and everyone joining the new media brigade consider "new" is an approach not yet perfected. But you can see the downward slope of interest in what's coming over-the-air by viewing numbers for time spent listening to broadcasters. (And online radio is only 15 years old - 5 years, if we count the time starting with major broadband penetration.)

Here's one example of internet radio opportunity: 1) We have Clear Channel's publication "Inside Radio" carrying this headline today, "The click becomes radio’s new APD." The opening sentence: "The radio industry has been using its listener click information on websites to market stations to advertisers."

The article mainly speaks of Hubbard Broadcasting's WTOP's use of metrics but, the truth is, WTOP cannot be considered common within the radio industry. WTOP is America's top billing station because of this uniqueness. Few stations are even close to using new media techniques to the degree found there.

"Using click information..." is exactly what the radio industry has not been doing. That's a point which online radio can use to its benefit.

Here's a clue that is missed by a radio industry just now realizing new media is real: A click is a worthless metric unless accompanied by an action from the media or advertiser.

In offering more than the radio industry is capable of today, online radio stations need to analyize the metrics they gather. Instead of just sitting on the numbers, online radio stations should graph what those numbers mean to an advertiser - and at the end of an ad campaign, hand the advertiser an analysis of the data.

Many services already use song metrics to determine popularity. Pandora carries it to ad response metrics, and there is no reason why smaller internet stations can't follow suit.

I'm not aware of any broadcast radio station that dives deep into its data for advertisers. It's the "void" a business needs to identify and fill when entering any market, like internet radio is doing as it enters broadcast's turf.

16 years is a long time to watch a radio industry self-destruct; but the time has come to plan tomorrow's audio platform and broadcasters don't seem interested in participating.

Need help visualizing just how far behind the curve these traditional stations sit? Visit NAB's latest venture: It comes just in time for the NAB's next convention and, like a dozen years repeated, the title of this get-together reflects hope which will never arrive: "METAMORPHOSIS, the Changing Face of MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT."

Here are titles given to NAB/RAB conventions in years past. Read them while thinking of anything that has come of any convention which moved radio into digital.
2012 - "The Great Content Shift: Define your evolution."
2011 & 2010 names are unknown - they're not even found on RAB's web site
2009 - "The Dial and Beyond - Profit from what's now and what's next"
2008 - "Bold Signals - On Air, Online, On Site"
2007 - "Opportunities - High Tech, High Touch, High ROI are on the horizon"

These are all classic misnomers, like " and " RAB's "WhyRadio (which doesn't carry its own radio-related domain, but is found buried in the web site). And who remembers the 2009 launch of

Corporate-run radio Goliaths are caught like the Titanic in a turn. Which is why independent internet radio operators have a perfect opportunity to pull further ahead.

Here's another clue. It's not content that's king anymore. Everyone offers content, and a lot of it is better quality than what over-the-air broadcasters deliver.

How data is used to entice fans and advertisers through new media is the bait today. Let the radio industry "count clicks." That's old school thinking used by old school managers.

Watch this concept implode like LMiV, the 2008 "Radio Communicators Group," a forgetable "Radio 2020 campaign," "Radio Heard Here," "The HD Radio Alliance," or "Radio. You Hear It Here First."

Time and again all that we've heard are words from the terrestrial side of radio.

If online stations start 2013 with action, by 2017 (when those new dashboards become mainstream in cars) the only ones listening to old school radio will be the ones needing walkers, or electric scooters which "won't cost you a penny to buy."

It now is truly online radio vs. broadcasters. Anyone want to place a bet?

While the broadcast side of radio has a near lockout on indie artists, introducing music is open wide to internet stations.
Here's a Hip Hop artist to consider: Cleezyana Jones.
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Cleezyana Jones

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We listen for songs that evoke emotion; fast, slow, female, male, group, it doesn't matter. When an artist has the power to please, they should be given a chance to be heard.

Give Cleezyana Jones' "Like Winehouse" a listen.

Add it to your playlist, free! Such is the new world of music distribution.

The radio industry had its shot. It's time internet radio programmers take a chance and reach into a huge pile of talent. It is there that new hit songs will increasingly be found.

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