Monday, February 4, 2008

Smulyan Declares New "Killer App"

I came across this article today and it jarred a couple of thoughts in my head.
Check out Emmis' Smulyan Calls Tagging Radio's 'Killer App'

This was discovered through a MediaPost email newsletter - it was their lead story.

Locally in Indy and nationally in the radio business Jeff Smulyan is a highly regarded guy, and for good reason. However in this case, I am wondering if he is out of his element. Maybe not, but here are some thoughts I had after reading this piece.
"Tagging" songs that you hear on the radio for potential purchase later on, seems to me assumes a few things:
1. That people actually like the programming of the music on the traditional stations. I have thought for a long time that station programming has become about as stale as the music industry itself. The Internet has not necessarily destroyed the music, contrary to music execs' belief - it has however opened up the consumer to artists, genres and listening locations and schedules that the traditional music biz and radio have neglected - therefore pulling listeners in other directions for longer periods of time. Really, who wants to hear the same classic rock songs, hip hop songs, or easy listening rotation for the 10 millionth time when you can explore new music on your schedule at your own leisure?

2. Payola is no longer an issue - not the case. Payola still happens and this "tagging" model would seem to only further encourage this unfortunate activity

3. The only opportunity to help grow the music/radio industry is by making it easier to purchase the music played by traditional stations - not the case. Where you can listen, the variety of what you can listen to, having a say in what you hear, becoming more valuable to the audience than just some obnoxious dj spinning the same 10 tunes all day and many other opportunities exist for the industry to grow and become valuable to their audience. Key - stay valuable, not just a time killer for the drive when you forgot your favorite CD or iPod.

Complete solutions, not "killer apps" will cure this industry and others that share similar pains (newspapers, tv, movies, etc.) Hit me up Jeff I would love to chat with you about it.

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