Since so many people have emailed me about this, I might as well deal with it all at once:
No, I cannot comment about any information that is not public (duh). (Not that its stopped people from asking). One day, I will write up the entire saga; it would make a pretty interesting blog post — or a really lousy book.
For now, you will just have to be satisfied with a few public links:
Bursted Not Busted
By Robert X. Cringely
Paradigm Lost, Paradigm Found
Santa Rosa streaming media company Burst battles the Microsoft octopus and comes out on top
By R. V. Scheide
As soon as I can go into more details, I will. But for cryin” out loud, please don’t ask me questions where either of us ends up wearing an Orange Jumpsuit.
Here’s something enormously gratifying: A front page WSJ article about why Radio sucks.
The reporter even got the cause & effect right. Satellite and iPod’s successes came about because Radio was so bad. Even my whipping boy, The 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act, catches blame. You can also see the impact of the Wired article (mentioned here earlier in the month) on the overall flavor of the piece.
While I place a lot more emphasis on the actual reasons for the migration away from radio, this piece is very much in the Big Picture spirit. As someone who has been kvetching about this for years, I am very pleased to see this front page WSJ coverage.
One thing I note as missing is a discussion of the long term generational effect, and the threat to a possible radio recovery: Since 1996, radio’s decay has led to an entire generation of listeners who have essentially written off radio (at least, when it comes to music).
The other key issue: Radio as a source of new music, and its relationship to the labels. (Not really discussed). It used to be part of the draw — a relationship with a trusted DJ who plays music you like, combined with introducing you to new songs (trust is the key component in granting someone taste-maker status).
I do not see how merely imitating the iPod’s shuffle feature will do the trick. Walk along the beach this summer — there are hardly any radios blaring — a peaceful
easy feeling eerie quiet, and lots of white headphone cords.
We discussed the The Hamburger Helper Effect previously. What will undo a complete shift of media consumption habits of an entire generation of listeners? Can the broadcast industry recapture these lost ears? (I dunno). If they can, then what will they have to so in order to bring back their lost audience?
1) Is it
even possible; b) how they might accomplish that trick?
I’m not sure that anything short of a massive unwinding of radio concentration, and a return to local managers, program directors, DJs and playlists will undo the damage. Even then, you have to win back the listeners who felt betrayed and abandoned.
The 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act provides us with yet another example of the law of unintended consequences . . .
Hit by iPod and Satellite, Radio Tries New Tune: Play More Songs
After Mergers, Bland Sound Left Giants Vulnerable; Fewer Ads, Added Variety Engineering a ‘Train Wreck’
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, March 18, 2005; Page A1