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Monday, November 24, 2014

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Content as a Commodity

My hope is that you'll think about the headline when you read this commentary's last sentence; both represent a simple concept. Creatively you're just another face in the crowd, and that crowd grew - fast - when the internet went mainstream.

Professional broadcasters and major artists not worried about building name recognition belittle the benefits of online exposure. Broadcaster revenue reports show the old way is less appealing to advertisers. Major artists complain how they should be paid more for airplay across media that they, initially, were begging to receive.
"Does anyone truly believe that the absence of what they produce will make or break their respective industry - that they are that good?"

What follows is for the up-and-comer, anyone trying to build a fan base. It doesn't matter if you produce songs or radio programs.

Millions of people have tried their hand at starting a radio station or attempting to distribute music, online.

We repeatedly see proclamations of "the best mix of music" and "...our new song has a killer sound...." Comments come from programmers and artists telling of the great content found in whatever it is they produce. Unspoken is how little response is received, and within that "unspoken" is how few people are discussing audio as a commodity. Few view what they produce as another kernel of corn in their respective audio silo.

The value of your audio is related to: 1) your ability to get other people talking about it; and 2) whether your song/programming is found.

Content is a commodity, which defines as "something of use, advantage, or value." It also contains this: " article of trade or commerce, especially a product as distinguished from a service." By either definition, a song or radio program fits. Where argument comes is in establishing "value."

What online radio and music content producers fail at is determining the initial value of their kernel in today's audio silo. Zero.

Does anyone truly believe that the absence of what they produce will make or break their respective industry - that they are that good?

I've had the good fortune to produce radio programming at a time when our competition was one similarly-formatted station in town. It's hard to lose when your competition is one other audio source.

There was a period where I produced nearly all content on the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns Radio Networks. Back then these audio programs sat in their own silo. Each kernel of sound was far more valuable because there was no similar audio available.

How times change. Today, within seconds, I can draw from thousands of radio stations, letting a search engine whittle my choice to a few stations which will mostly come from out of my market. Music comes from a pool of millions of songs, selected by a logical progression of facts gathered through the tracking of my listening.

As for sports: Try finding any radio station, broadcast or online, which consistently produces feature-length audio programs. You'll count those on one hand, despite huge numbers of sports-oriented audio outlets. (An example of this is "The Illumination of Baseball," a half-hour radio program discussing the lighting of baseball fields. I wrote, voiced and produced it in 1993.)

When what we produce is not worth as much as it was yesterday, it's not something we like to dwell on. When competition magnifies in ways that appear insurmountable, it's easier to simply disregard.

Today consumers and advertisers have access to more multiples of sound than we could imagine just a decade ago. Many people do not focus on it, but you should consider how it devalues current songs or programming, and then create ancillary revenue streams for yourself.

Picture your kernel of contributed audio as it sits in its silo and bear this in mind: Because of the internet, your silo has no height limit; to advertiser and audience, there's a near limitless supply of audio content suppliers.

Content as a commodity. To compete in today's market, your thinking about the value of creative audio products needs to change.

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Today's indie introduction is to...
Pop artist Jordana Talsky
sample song
Canteloupe Coffee Blues

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

Give Jordana Talsky's "Canteloupe Coffee Blues" a listen.

Add it to your playlist, free!

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