The "Where Do We Go From Here" Syndrome
Indie artists find themselves in a new world order. Same can be said for thousands of internet radio station owners - whether or not they come from the pureplay side or the radio industry.
Truth be told (and few are telling it) no matter which group you are in, you need a revamped view of:
"What do we do next? The answer is the same for the radio industry as it is for indie artists: Understand What You Need to Understand."
Preventing us from using yesterday's thinking are too many variations on how audio is consumed today:
Where do we go from here?
Supply and Demand are out of sync. Indie artists are swimming in a competitive pool that's tremendously larger than a decade ago.
When owners of online radio stations see how many listeners are in the audience (on average), it becomes apparent that selling advertisers on "impressions" (CPM) won't bring in enough money to pay streaming costs.
Broadcasters with streams remain oblivious to the change in how youth consume audio. Whatever the "big boys" do online continues to lean towards irrelevancy.
When the reconfigured auto centerstack nears critical mass, the radio industry, which depends heavily on being one of only "X" presets, will have gone through more "flattening".* You cannot create desirable product with fewer people spending less-time-per-station.
*The new radio industry euphemism for firing employees.
Have you seen an action movie where the hero is saved by catching, and responding to, a glint of trouble in the corner of their eye? Peripheral vision leaves those who use it standing. They saw what was coming and reacted. It's one answer (in my opinion, the most important) to this "where do we go from here" syndrome.
While most are asking WDWGFH, those looking peripherally will be in front, working their plan. Such is the case today with those who responded to their peripheral vision in 2005.
Online, radio should have more entrepreneurial companies top-of-mind instead of VC sponsored or corporate shops.
That was the intent of this new world in media when the internet was introduced by Tim Berner's Lee and Vince Cerf.
Artists are faced with becoming known in a far larger room (online), filled with far more bands. In the early stage of development in our new world - much as it's unfair - there's a quid pro quo of I'll use your music and you get exposure. That's just the way things worked out in music due to a lopsided supply and demand.
Artists need to concentrate on building and maintaining lists
: email, social media, and picture-based sm. (To virally stand out requires a person to produce compelling content, as 17-year old Joe Bush does with his history of the world.)
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On revenue: Selling directly is an answer which hasn't been perfected by either group. The many companies claiming to create large revenue streams from selling music online are exaggerating what happens to an average band's listing. Those companies claiming the sale of advertising for indie stations have boatloads of inventory going unsold.
Advice from here is that I've yet to see a true "answer."
Here is my belief: There is no quick, easy, or cheap way to do what needs to be done. The level playing field is really dependent on the size of your wallet and the breadth of your knowledge, the ratio to which has yet to be set.
What do we do next? The answer is the same for the radio industry as it is for indie artists: Understand What You Need to Understand
Spend time exploring the new environment. Then pick and choose where your time will best be spent.
You can't do it all, but you can do what you choose to do well!
Today's indie introduction is to...
When an artist has the power to please they should be given a chance to be heard.
Give Adam Byer's "Settle" a listen
Add it to your playlist, free!