by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
curation, music, radio

'Radio' Means Something Very Different Online Than It Does In The Traditional Sense

from the online-radio-killed-the-radio-star dept

Over at the New York Times, Saul Hansell has written a post about online music based around an interview with the CEO of Tivoli Audio, which has been building radios that can connect over WiFi to internet radio stations. Hansell contends that internet radio will be the dominant form of digital music, ahead of downloads and "lots of other ways" to listen. It's an interesting argument, particularly when it's juxtaposed against the backdrop of a floundering terrestrial radio business and the struggles of satellite radio. It's also one that's likely to create a lot of pushback from download devotees, such as Hansell's first commenter, who chimes in with "keep your hands off my music." Sure, the freedom from restrictive playlists that do-it-yourself digital music offers is powerful, and terrestrial radio may not be particularly satisfying for many people, but it's important to realize that the term "radio" takes on a much broader meaning online than it does in the terrestrial broadcast context. There's still a lot of room for curated musical experiences -- which used to solely be the domain of broadcast DJs -- whether it's in the form of human-programmed streams, algorithmically or genre-based channels, podcasts, MP3 blogs or even social-network recommendations. And, as Hansell points out, there's a real convenience factor at play as well. What online radio offers is the ability to take many of traditional radio's good aspects, like convenience and exposure to new music, while doing away with the aspects that turn off so many listeners, whether it's annoying DJs, too many ads, or the wrong choice of music. It then takes these aspects, puts them in different formats, and expands them across tens of thousands of different kinds of music. So while the traditional idea of "radio" may be struggling a bit, its online evolution will keep going strong.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    iyogi (profile), Jun 1st, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    Internet radio

    I think internet radio is the way to go, a traditional radio has a limited audience but an internet radio is limitless to how many people can tune in at a time. I’ve also used the internet radio to tune into a local radio station rather than a radio because i think it has better quality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Designerfx (profile), Jun 1st, 2009 @ 8:53pm

    fix royalties

    We need to get rid of these absolutely horrible and intolerable royalty agreements that internet radio gets forced into.

    Example: the reason why they can't let you play back a song you just played (such as on pandora and MANY other sites) is due to some kind of rule in online royalties.

    Very soon I hope someone challenges the constitutionality of charging money for something that regular radio doesn't pay for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    BryanCar, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 9:29pm

    Radio means more today....

    The online radio means more interactive, more flexible, more multiple than the traditional radio.

    Give you more choice to listen to the radio. 'WM Downloader' is a Windows Media and MP3 Stream Ripper/Grabber (not direct sound recording program), which makes it easy to download Windows Video, Windows Audio, SHOUTcast and Icecast streams.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 12:11am

    It is helpful to have a few number of media outlets that everyone pays attention to. It makes sure we have some shared experiences, which make it possible for us to relate to each other enough to convey our unshared experiences. I hope that the internet doesnt completely eviscerate this important function that radio serves, leaving us completely at the mercy of the ultra splintered long tail. Both types of media sourcing are necessary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 2:39am


    you do seem to think that Internet radio is something that can't be shared, which is non-sense.

    If I tune in to for instance, you can do the same thing, and hear the same music as I do.
    There, shared experience.

    Granted, if you only look at or pandora, those experiences aren't shared per se. But the term internet radio is broader than just those types of sites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Bradley Stewart, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 6:44am

    WI FI Radio is the best

    Thousands of stations from all over the World and no subscription fee. I have had it with commercial radio a long time ago. To be completly honest though this is not scientific but anecdotal as a prime example I have timed with a chess clock WLS talk radio in Chicago a few times over the period of an hour. Here are my results. 17-22 minutes of commercials, bumpers, and promos per hour. Throw in 5 minutes of stale news per hour and whats left to listen to? The only advantage to this is if you are having trouble falling asleep I highly recomend this format. Its like the old story. Once you peel a banana and throw away the bone what have you got left?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Jason, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 8:34am



    One of the coolest functions of Pandora is that you can post the specialized channels you create so that your friends and family can listen in on what you're listening to.

    Plus, at my house (not in UK, mind you) we turn up the sound and we all listen together.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2009 @ 11:51am

    the 1 major advantage of internet radio

    For me, the 1 "killer feature" of internet radio sites like LastFM is the ability to skip forward over a song I don't like/am bored with, etc. I find I miss this feature even more than specialized channels and is something I always wish I had available on my car stereo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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