Thanks to Brad Hill at Radio and Internet News for brining this forehead slapper to my attention. In industry journal Inside Radio’s year-end reader survey a full 2/3 of respondents said that “Pandora and other pureplay streaming services like iTunes Radio and Spotify pose no real threat to radio listening,” which is the exact same result as last year’s survey.
So, first, the answer to today’s trivia question: Two-thirds of radio professionals is how many it takes to let the industry’s lunch be eaten by Pandora.
Not to put too fine of a point on it, but the commercial radio industry’s failure to take account of the internet in the late 90s through to the 2000s is one of major factors in both the perceived decline of broadcast radio, as well as real loss of advertising income and audience. When I was in college radio in the early 90s our station’s advisor was fond of saying that a broadcast license “was a license to print money,” as long as you ran a relatively clean, stable operation. The internet changed that, while the executives running companies like Clear Channel kept whistling a happy tune, betting they could just keep running their money printing machines in perpetuity, as they ruthlessly liquidated air staff, programmers and management.
Much of the success of Pandora and other online radio platforms stems from commercial radio cheapening its product and delivering an online experience that was mostly laughable until five years ago or so. It’s like Inside Radio readers are staring forward, rolling up the windows and singing at the top of their lungs while the Pandora bus full of their former listeners speeds by in the passing lane.
Putting it more diplomatically, Hill concludes, “Regardless of radio’s inherent advantages and future destiny, complacency might not be a productive attitude toward Pandora and interactive music streaming in 2014.”
I’m sure these survey results are music to the ears of every single executive in an online radio or streaming company. Consider it a late Christmas present from commercial radio.
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