Saturday, December 24, 2005

Internet killed radio's star

It’s no secret that I like to listen to music while I write. It helps me focus on the task at hand, and it keeps folks from interfering with my work. I know it sounds anti-social, but it’s the only way to keep my output up. The alternative is to stay at home and work by myself all day. But that can be somewhat career limiting over the longer term.

So when the MP3s and CDs I brought from home started to pale after the zillionth listen, I began looking for new sources of music.

Pandora seems like a funky solution to an ages-old problem. Log in, give it an artist or song, and it builds and plays a playlist that should match your listening taste. You can create as many different streams – called “Stations” – as you wish. It’s part of something that Pandora calls the Music Genome Project, and it allows listeners to listen to music the way it was meant to be heard: without amped-up ads for discount mattress warehouses and car dealerships.

There’s a paid, ad-free version. But I’m cheap, so I registered for the no-cost, ad-supported one. Listening to the same song over and over is somewhat problematic – they want you to sample, then buy, after all. No worries: the sound is excellent, and I’m being introduced to artists I never knew existed. Definitely ranks high on the cool meter for folks who hate what commercial radio has become and are looking for an alternative.

Drawbacks: I shudder to think what this would do to a mobile device, and I feel sorry for network admins who might soon find themselves managing rogue audio streams. But such is life on the road toward multimedia nirvana.

Your turn - a 2-parter
  • Feel free to share any thoughts on cool tools you’ve come across that make work easier, or easier to take.
  • Do you think Internet radio, satellite radio and all its brothers (sisters?) will kill commercial radio as we know it? How can conventional terrestrial, commercial radio (regular AM and FM stations) compete?

10 comments:

Courtney said...

Terrestrial radio will become like what regular television is--the second cousin to paid services (much like cable tv). The edgy programming will go to paid services, and the regular all-access will cater to the all-access crowd.

Jason said...

Pandora really is an excellent tool.
I came to visit to say merry christmas and happy new year. :)

john said...

Carmi, I check out Pandora this morning. What an awesome idea! I typed in one of my most favorite, yet local artists and they had the band and offered some awesome comparable artists that I have never heard of!

In regard to XM radio (and streaming and podcasts), I think it will continue to change how we access and listen to the radio. I do not see it eliminating radio, as long as radio continues to find ways to create unique content.

Ontario Emperor said...

1. No cool tools to help with work, although distractions abound.

2. There certainly are distractions to conventional radio - my favorite is Yahoo's free music service. The only way that conventional radio can compete is via better programming. However, since that's too hard, conventional radio will try to compete via exclusives. Theoretically, Clear Channel could negotiate a deal with Sony in which Sony would not release its music to anyone else for a particular period. However, Clear Channel couldn't afford the rights fee.

Thumper said...

Honestly I think satellite radio and the like will become like cable TV--ad free at first, and once people are paying for it, they want the variety they get, the ads will trickle in. We'll never be really commercial free. Best we can hope for is a break from it.

Conventional stations need the ad revenuw, but they could manage it better by playing less *stupid* commericals...I swear, there are a few out there that make me want to chuck the radio out the window...

kontan said...

i just love my laptop and cell. makes life easier.

around here, we have advertisements running, clear channel maybe, that end with "radio, you shouldn't have to pay for it." the fact that they are running the spots means they are seeing some decline or expect it. i think radio as we know it will still hang around, but we will see a change in how it is run. already have with voice tracking and syndication.

phoenix said...

Merry Christmas Carmi! Happiest of Holidays for you and yours!

Plain Jane said...

I usually close my door when I need to focus - but I'm lucky to have a door.

As for the other part, I can't remember the last time I listened to radio - of any sort. I'm glued to my iPod and iTunes [even sharing the play lists of others at work].

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I will have to look into this! Very Very Interesting...
Hi there Carmi..just stopped by to say Happy Hanukah...don't know if you celebrate it, but wanted to give you my best wishes anyway!
Enjoy all that wonderful music!

Plumkrazzee said...

Hey Carmi! Well, if you read my post on "radio" you'll know how I feel about this. I am a huge fan of good ole fashioned commercial radio. I will never, ever do satellite. If that makes me a fuddy duddy, so be it! =)