Endless Choice

Re-thinking music streaming.



Last week, I posted about new records being set for fresh content produced every year by video streaming companies .

Competition is intense: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO MAX, Apple+, Disney+, Peacock and on and on.

Even though Netflix lost almost a million subscribers in the second quarter of this year, they have not stopped funding for proprietary content.

They understand that more content, better content, like the 4th season of Stranger Things, is the only thing that will make them healthier.

They’re focused on long term viability.

Radio, of course, is a different story.

As consolidation swept our industry, proprietary content has been cut across the board.

We’ve actually been lucky that, so far, streaming music services, like Spotify, haven’t inflicted more damage.

That’s mostly because Spotify doesn’t have an answer for between-the-songs content either. While they reportedly paid Joe Rogan $100 million for his long form podcast, they haven’t got a clue about the value of companionship when listening to music.

It’s kind of rich, when you think about it, since Spotify still isn’t profitable and the vast majority of the artists who write and record the music they stream cannot make a living from this streaming.

There is evidence now that Spotify is beginning to lose pure music subscribers.

“…dedicated music listeners continue to grapple with the unethical economics of streaming companies…”

Streaming makes the listening experience much more passive…there’s endless choice, but you’re not listening.

Nearly everyone interviewed for this piece pointed out the need for systemic change across the music industry, from rethinking how royalties are paid by streaming services to expanding public funding for artists. Still, leaving streaming has led to a more meaningful daily experience of music.

Look, the between-the-songs content has always been the hardest part of “radio.” Talent – real talent – is rare, and expensive. Real talent doesn’t suffer fools easily so it’s more difficult to “manage.”

But it is the only content that is proprietary!

It’s the only content Radio can provide which sustains loyalty and growth.

Do we want to be defined as “endless choice but you’re not really listening” or the only choice for content that turns passive listening into engagement from listeners?

It’s way past time to fund the content side of our product.

It’s our only hope.