Thursday, January 1, 2009

Broadcast radio dies in 2009

Nearly two years ago, Richard Kelleher penned in the Arizona Republic, “…the power to form music opinion still lies in the hands of broadcasters that use FCC licenses rather than Internet.”

His premise was that people create top selling music from what they hear on the radio rather than the Internet.

Let me declare Rihanna’s “Disturbia” to be the last song to be made popular by radio. In 2009, radio will die. The song became a hit without being on her CD. It proved so popular, her label had to issue a “Reloaded” work. Most people became aware of this song from traditional radio play.

Radio is killing itself off. Listen to morning shows. Are they music, or all following a pattern not originated, but made popular by Howard Stern, where it is the announcer talking about himself and his friends? Who cares? I have my own friends and it takes like $50 to create an Internet radio station, even less to create a podcast and post it on a blog. Clear Channel, one of the largest empires of the 21st Century, is popularizing this trend through its national KISS radio stations – I’m sure all 50 ADIs have a KISS station.

Revenues are extremely down for radio stations.

Today’s taste-makers in popular music, whether it be tween, 20-something or baby-boomers, will come from local communities. MySpace’s new emphasis on music will be the death-knell for commercial radio.

Guns & Roses, in a stupid move, distributed “Chinese Democracy” only through Best Buy. Yet, they put up a MySpace site where you could hear at least half the work for free. Smart marketing move; sales fell unexpectedly short of goal.

My projection is that at least 60 percent of music sold in 2008 was done through iTunes. Why would anyone offer exclusivity to retail outlets like Walmart and Best Buy? The old term for this thinking was “shooting yourself in the foot.”

Shopping malls will miss the mark again. They could be trendsetters in music tastes – high density, uniformity throughout the nation. How easy it is to set up a lighted banner throughout the store or mall with the sign, you are listening to….(whatever the song and artist is). If there were smart marketers out there, record companies, radio stations and mall owners would have implemented this more than four years ago. Hollister is doing it!

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