Monday, March 29, 2010

Audio Is The New Radio

RBR recently posted an article regarding a new study by the Pew Project For Excellence In Journalism that came to the conclusion that terrestrial broadcast radio in any form was now better categorized by the term "Audio", since so may people now spend much of their day listening other types of audio-only program, like Internet radio, music podcasts on iPods and satellite radio. This fragmentation of the "listening market" is such that whatever market power that radio had is diminishing rapidly.

Yet another study from Arbitron and Edison Research found that 24% of drivers now use their iPod, iPhone or MP3 player to supply the listening material when they're in the car, pretty much confirming the Pew study.

Radio has already lost its influence on the record business so this is no surprise at all. Once upon a time, radio was the be-all end-all when it came to making a record a hit, but that power is mostly gone as a video on YouTube, a key blog post, or a high iTunes charting are more likely to help you break out than airplay on a station in Cincinnati. Of course, in the 50's through the 90's, all it took was one station to start the ball rolling, but those days are over for so many reasons.

The point is, there was a formula for making a hit in the "old days - do whatever you had to in order to get radio airplay. Record labels paid for it either directly or indirectly (through indie promoters), but that's how it was done.

Today the formula is different. You can't rely on radio so you start out small with your passionate fans (your "tribe") and build the tribe gradually, expanding it by a combination of great music releases, gigs in front of live people (as opposed to virtually), social media management and hard street work (in fact, this has never changed, except for the social media part). You may never attain the type of success that the old formula of radio brought, bit it will sustain for as long as you choose to keep the flame alive.

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