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Thursday, May 24, 2012
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When the Internet Pumps Out Hit Songs

There's nothing like a little competition to scare the bajeebees out of someone in the radio industry. Pandora's a classic example. Notice all the trade press devoted to it. We can also look at satrad companies introducing themselvs a decade ago as another instance of radio freaking out, when on the verge of being challenged.

May I suggest that we are not too far away from the next moment when folks in radio - specifically, music radio - are going to start scratching their scalps!

"We're reaching into a new era, where the internet has the capacity to produce its own stars." While everyone is preoccupied with flat revenue reports for the radio industry vs. Pandora exclaiming they've had another good quarter, let's point to people gathered in another corner who will have profound impact, those operating "new music" web sites.

Important to keep in mind is that, until now, the radio industry had a monopoly on making hits, brandishing new stars, promoting concerts, etc. Until a few years ago radio had a relationship with the record labels that resembled cousins in bed. Though, the closer we get to broadcasters being forced to pay performance royalties the further apart these parties lie.

The next level of this "introduction of new music" is in indie artists getting more play online. That's "indie," as in independent acts who have no attachment to labels or broadcast radio. The options laid before them are becoming better known to consumers and the musicians, to a point where we are not so far off when more new music will be found online than will be aired over your local stations.

At this point I could pimp Audio Graphics' RRadio Music, or AG's "Intro to Indie Artists" programs. The former has over 1,000 songs requested for free airplay on internet radio stations. The latter has 431 programs requested for free airplay on 165 internet radio stations. What's of note for each is that they are placed highly in returns for all indie music keywords, across all major search engines. (Try Googling "indie country artists" or "independent rap artists" as examples.)

We're not going to discuss either today, because there are many other options for musicians and consumers. If the following music sites don't have the radio industry's attention yet, we may be seeing another case of radio being asleep at the wheel.

Let's first consider that we no longer are limited to an artist coming from one nation. International acts are gaining steam through multiple outlets (YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.).

Here's one act you've never heard of, Sahil [Hasil & Salar]. Listen to the fresh pop sound of its "Dil Chahay." You'd never guess they come from Pakistan. (For the old geezer's in the audience, consider it a modern day "Sukiaki.")

(If the player doesn't show in your browser, go here.)

SoundCloud is another option being tapped by musicians to circumvent traditional broadcast. Though it's catching on more slowly than YouTube, SoundCloud puts distribution of new music into the hands of artists (who send their music directly to stations or music web sites).

My favorite new music venue is a simple concept. What would you consider a web site where an indie artist can schedule an online concert, sell tickets (say, for a Friday night performance), and perform from their living room! Let me introduce you to "StageIt." I've been watching this for a few months, and consider it to have real potential in this day of user-controlled entertainment.

We're reaching into a new era, where the internet has the capacity to produce its own stars. When that becomes a common occurrence, the radio industry is going to lose a leg-up on drawing listeners.

IMHO: It all revolves around artists needing exposure and radio/music services needing content. With the internet, it's a quid pro quo arrangement more than ever.

As more consumers realize the quantity of new music and start spreading the word through social media, tuning into a local radio station to hear the latest act (being promoted by a major label) will fall farther down the list of "this is what I want to do."

As has been since the introduction of the internet, the radio industry only needs to sit by and do nothing to lose ground. Or, it could join the new music movement by starting to air more indie artists on broadcast radio web sites.

Here's a fact that should wake some folks up: None of the 165 radio stations airing Audio Graphics' "Intro to Indie Artists" programs are broadcasters. You have to wonder why, when there's such a call for hearing new music.

Go here to sample and order your free program, and get in on the leading edge of introducing new music online.

(Yes. The last line is a plug. I figure, what's it going to hurt?)

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