A new RAIN poll finds Internet radio fans divided on whether Pandora counts as radio. 52 percent of respondents to the Radio and Internet Newsletter survey answered “yes” to the following statement/question: “Pandora is the leading ‘Internet radio’ service. Is Pandora radio?”
Thirty percent said “no.” Eighteen percent said “yes and no.” Many respondents added their own observations:
“The radio industry needs to get over this question. We should only care about this question if the customer cares, and I think they don’t.”
“It is missing news or talk content for it to be ‘radio.'”
“Pandora is Internet audio not radio! Radio is AM or FM.”
“Who cares? If Pandora wants to call it ‘radio,’ then that gives broadcast radio a chance to re-define what it does.”
“It’s not radio but 80 % of the revenue model is based on audio ads. So we have to consider Pandora as a competitor in the radio industry.”
I’ve come around to the perspective that Pandora is radio under certain circumstances. The problem with calling it generically so is that AM/FM stations broadcast to audiences: people listening to the same music and talk at the same time. Most Pandora channels don’t serve listeners in that manner, instead they stream millions of separate genome driven playlists to millions of individual people. But when you share one of your Pandora channels with your social networking friends, I think that you arguably become a Pandora radio station, and your friends become your audience.
On the other hand, I resist commentaries (here and here) that, it seems to me, boil down to: ‘If it emits sounds and makes money, it is radio.’ I appreciate all efforts to get AM/FM folk to wake up to the realities of the Internet, but by that definition Nielsen should be tracking noises made by barnyard animals.
RAIN also gave readers the option of answering yes to the proposition “my brains hurt,” but did not reveal how many people checked off on this response.
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