A new streaming music radio platform launched today, Mad Genius Radio. Entering into an increasingly crowded space, Mad Genius differentiates itself by customizing each station to the individual listener rather than relying on data correlated and aggregated across audiences to program music choices.
Founder Eric Neumann is a radio industry veteran with more than twenty years of experience. According to him, “Musical tastes ebb and flow over time. It’s best to have an app flow with a user.” Mad Genius does this by giving users more fine-grained control over songs and artists. They can rate tracks on a 0 to 5 slider, not just by a thumbs-up or down.
Curated genre stations on Mad Genius are based on a rotation, similar to terrestrial radio, but with deeper catalogs. Listeners control the rotation frequency with the slider. “You can lean back and let songs play, and then rate those songs you want to hear more or less of,” Neumann explained.
Listeners can also ban an artist, “but I can un-ban them later, when I haven’t heard them in a while.”
Neumann highlighted Mad Genius’
140 460 “Time Machine” stations, which are based on actual charts from the era. “You can go back to a season for a particular year and hear it as it was played at the time, such as hip-hop or alternative rock in the spring of ’96,” Neumann said. “You’ll hear songs you forgot about, [and ones] that didn’t become hits. It brings back memories.”
Mad Genius is ad-free and available for a free trial period right now on the web and in iOS and Android apps. Beginning in December the service will be available only via subscription for $5 a month or $48 a year. Neumann said that making it a paid service, without ads, “pays out better royalty rates to performers and songwriters. It’s more fair to the people who create the content.”
He continued to explain that as a subscription service Mad Genius pays “79% more per song than any ad-based model. We pay songwriters
53% 530% more on a per-song basis. And we’re glad to do it.” According to Neumann the rates subscription services pay are 14 – 18 cents per listener hour, compared to 4.6 cents for ad-supported services.
Being a subscription service “leaves us more room,” he said. “We’re profitable with a few hundred thousand paid subscribers. We don’t have to beat Pandora, or even be #5, in order to be profitable and pay the highest royalty rates.”