Digital Killed the Radio Star NOT Video
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Thread: Digital Killed the Radio Star NOT Video

  1. #1

    Digital Killed the Radio Star NOT Video

    Online streaming of music on personal devices such as phones, etc continues to rise. Evidence of that look at the recent list of the most popular apps and Pandora and Apple Music have a significant share as well as a huge lead over other similar apps. I would bet that in the coming years all listening will be done online and that the future is in streaming content on demand. Looks like companies are making the move to digital more and more. Who has the best digital presence and who will win in the new arena of broadcasting?

    Pandora Radio (40.4%)
    Apple Music (28.7%)

  2. #2
    Isn't Google Play a music service? They rank 49%. And a lot of millennials use YouTube for music, and they rank 71% (although admittedly a LOT of people don't use YouTube for music).

    I think if IHeart and similar radio-based apps can succeed they will keep broadcast radio as we know it very healthy -- according to the experts on RD, radio stations are still the preferred medium of music presentation to younger people.

  3. #3
    eriedj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Erie, PA
    People were, and still are, looking up music on YouTube. It's been around longer than Spotify and Pandora. Even before that, people downloaded (what's that) music from iTunes to their iPods. Just one's opinion, of course.
    Former Radio DJ (25 years)
    Current: Full-Time Wedding & Event DJ Entertainer (20 years and counting )

  4. #4
    The linked chart in the OP is probably not the best way to ascertain music streaming, since a lot of the apps on the list don't actually stream music as a primary service. Certainly YouTube is the most popular service for this, and the chart indicates it's success in terms of it's "reach" (which is what they're measuring). Reach doesn't actually tell you much about usage, and it doesn't say what users do with the apps listed.

  5. #5
    Something is always going to kill "The Radio Star" First is was TV, then it was music video, cassettes, CDs, now downloading. Radio will outlive the Buggles (however they are still performing).
    96.3 Demopolis AL.
    100.5 Meridian Mississippi.

    92.5 Frisco City/Monroeville

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Bellingham WA
    Analog radio is still here. But it's nowhere near the force it was even 10 years ago (and even then it was showing signs of trouble ahead.) There are simply things data can do that analog radio just can't.

    However, there are also still a few things analog radio can do now that data just can't. They still haven't figured out a purely digital way to immediately and universally reach local people with information on smartphones after a horrific disaster that wipes out power to the cell towers yet (the FM chips are rarely activated, if included at all in most smartphones. So that's a non-starter) But inevitably, they will figure out a workable and purely digital system. They will have to. New portable radios are rarely manufactured and most young people do everything else on smartphones only. So why not radio as well?

    If you're on a limited data plan (which will be phased out eventually for unlimited) currently, local radio doesn't eat that. Or if you're way off in the The Land That Data Carriers Forgot (there are still a few good sized areas without any form of wireless coverage.) Plus analog signals don't break up into unlistenable fragments. Or need to buffer. But the DTV transition went ahead in spite of the fact most on-air DTV signals in urban areas start breaking up badly 10 miles from their transmitters.

    There's not much else you can use the AM and FM spectrums for once everything has moved to data. But once advertising agencies begin to smell trouble, there is a very real chance commercial radio will just give up it's terrestrial signals within the next 10-20 years. I just don't see terrestrial radio as being commercially viable for them in the long haul. Most radio conglomerates don't even own their towers. And with iHeart in deep trouble (they may not make it another year without pleading for time that their creditors and shareholders are not willing to give. They've heard enough excuses) and Cumulus and ESPN laying people off by the score, it just takes one catastrophic event at iHeart or somewhere to set off a chain reaction throughout the industry. And it won't be pretty.

    The pace of technology and increasingly unlimited data plans isn't slowing down. The market will not allow it. Terrestrial radio does do slightly better in recessions (and with Republican administrations historically speaking-not politically, recessions are guaranteed and have been since Nixon.) Forces can briefly slow the decline, but ultimately, they will never stop it.

    But commercially, radio can't fight this kind of change forever because it's so thorough. Data encompasses just about everything else in our lives. And radio will eventually be forced to turn off the transmitters and join in with both feet. Because that's where everybody is right now. Including you.

    Yes, analog radio has lived through TV, movie theatres, LPs, CDs, video games and portable physical format music players of every stripe, But like the Boy Scouts who a few years ago deliberately knocked over a naturally precariously balancing landmark boulder in Utah that had stood that way for 170 million years, nothing is totally invincible.

    We haven't reached the tipping point yet. But it's on it's way and there will be no denying or escaping it when it does. And radio will always exist. Just in a new form.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bongwater View Post

    We haven't reached the tipping point yet. But it's on it's way and there will be no denying or escaping it when it does. And radio will always exist. Just in a new form.

    I don't know about you, but if I have unlimited data, I'm not using it to listen to radio. I'm using it to watch TV.

    Radio-only streaming companies like Pandora are in the same hole that radio-only companies like Cumulus are in: Too much debt, impatient stockholders, increased costs, and not enough advertising money. Maybe you've missed it but Pandora has been pleading with record labels to help them with rising royalty costs, and the music companies have ignored them. The folks at Apple will tell you that their music services are loss leaders to help sell the hardware. That's what's driving the business. Not audio.

  8. #8
    I don't see it replacing OTA radio until they figure out how to squish more data into the limited bandwidth they have now, or expand the frequencies they presently use. The cell systems probably have some sort of limits on the data they can presently handle. Even Wifi hotspots can be overloaded, interfered with, etc. Many public ones take forever to my cell phone to connect to. It's not always plug and play.

    For OTA to be completely replaced, one would think they'd have to have a cell site on every other block, instead of every half mile to a mile, as it is now. That's a lot of infrastructure to add.

    I'm taking population growth into consideration here, it's not going to shrink, and demand for cell data is going to grow along with it.

    Not being a cell tech, maybe I'm off kilter here.

  9. #9
    I hear the lyric to that song as "accountants" killed the radio star.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Knoxville, TN
    I found it interesting (though not really) that the people working on a roof next door had the local classic rock station playing all day while they were working on the roof. Not Pandora playing on a laptop, not Spotify, and they didn't create a 12 hour personal playlist of obscure favorites. They didn't even climb off the ladder to change the station when commercials came on to switch the station. Go figure.

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