A couple of months ago I wrote an entry concerning the royalty fees that sites like Pandora are required to pay in order for them to stream their music. With these internet radio sites, sadly, losing this battle, a decision has finally been made. Congress recently signed in the Local Radio Freedom act which does not change any of the existing royalty laws. This means that internet radio is desperately trying to prevail in an era in which terrestrial radio is trying to maintain control. This means in the coming years Pandora and Spotify will continue to battle out in court the ridiculous amounts of fees they are having to pay artists for playing music. Does the chokehold of terrestrial radio regulation destroy the sanctity of what playing music is about? Or is internet radio attempting to usher in a new era of how music is heard? You be the judge.
This weekend Plano is being put on the live music map with the first ever Suburbia music festival, presented by Live Nation. The plan for this festival to take place was first started three years ago, and personally I thought that this could never happen. Plano is big and growing, but I never would have thought this would be a place for a music festival to take place. With many acts from Texas and several acts outside of the state, Suburbia festival is expected to bring a diverse and large crowd. As a DJ for Radio UTD I get a chance to go and see if Suburbia plays out to be something epic, and if it has the potential to become an annual event for the growing suburb of Dallas. If you are a fan of Slightly Stoopid, the Alabama Shakes or Third Eye Blind then come check out the Suburbia fest these acts and many more.
Earlier in Radio and the Changing World, I used the phrase digital natives to describe the generation of kids who have adapted and created the new world of Internet usage. With the Internet growing at the substantial rate it is the digital natives that are responsible for what happens next. Mark Ramsey, broadcast analysts and radio enthusiast, recently posted in his blog about how the digital world is taking its hold upon the outlets of media and broadcast. The term used to describe the transfer over to digital and Internet radio is being called digital migration. In an attempt to gain more knowledge about the growing reach of the digital world, Ramsey sat down with Rick Ducey the managing director for BIA Kelsey, one of the biggest media and advertising experts in the country. Ducey supports Ramsey’s remarks that the growing digital influence is in fact a reality for the country and the world.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about how ITunes radio is now introducing a new stand-alone platform that will operate without the use of the ITunes. Since the launch of its radio sector of ITunes, the platform is climbing in popularity and now has a news radio segment added to it. NPR is the station adding a segment to the growing ITunes platform. Although not too ecstatic about the merger, NPR reminds it listeners that their radio is still accessible for free off of the internet. Itunes has boasted on its billions of users that have taken part in the new platform since its launch. With Itunes creeping around the corner they could eventually shut down Pandora.
If you have ever listened to DFW radio then you are probably familiar with 102.1 the Edge, an alternative and rock station that is owned by Clearchannel communications. In high school, I remember always listening to the Edge, mainly because I didn’t have a CD or MP3 player in my car. The Edge always played music that I enjoyed, and promoted concerts that interested me. Through the Edge, I started to formulate my interest in radio and gather an idea of what it would be like to have a show. Among many of the shows that motivated me to pursue radio, one of them was known as the Adventure Club with Josh Venable. The Adventure club played different tunes outside the realms of its normal music from DFW and outside the state with the motive of bringing awareness to different artists. The Edge then added the Local Edge and had it hosted by Mark Selectman. The Edge has now cut the local Edge from the waves all together, and I do not approve of this decision.
The Local Edge was very successful in its run as a station. Mark did a phenomenal job at promoting the bands that did not get the attention they deserved. The band Phoenix launched its career sky high after Mark featured their song 1901 on the Local Edge. The local Edge was very special to me not only because I enjoyed the show, but because the show itself strived to bring terrestrial radio back to its roots. Corporate terrestrial radio overplays various different songs, and some of the time the music is not that great, the songs are getting played because the record companies have the dinero to make it happen. This aspect is killing radio day by day. This is not what we should be teaching to the next generation about how radio works. It makes me sick that Clearchannel does not see the past the financial gain of the local Edge and see the bigger picture of what the show did for the listeners of DFW. I feel that listeners of DFW radio or any radio station should be able to decide what bands should be up next in the world of fame, not the stations themselves. On the flip side of this situation, Mark will not be booted off the air for good. Mark will now move over to host the Adventure Club, but he will not feature local acts. In an interview conducted after his show cancellation Mark remains confident that he be able to influence the station to bring back local music. I never felt that I disapproved of corporate agendas until I started writing in Radio and the Changing World. The more and more research I do I find that most of my favorite stations are owned by nation wide companies, and sometimes it deters me from following into the field, but other times it motivates me. If you enjoyed the Local Edge or ever gained anything from the show, I strongly urge you to write a letter to Clearchannel Dallas. We are the people who make these stations what they are. If we didn’t listen then they would be nowhere.
Twenty years ago Rock and roll said goodbye to Kurt Cobain, front man for the grunge rock band Nirvana, due to a self-inflicted shotgun wound. Last night his legacy prevailed when Nirvana was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. Alongside other Artists, the remaining band members of Nirvana lit up the stage with their memorable songs and celebrated the successful run their band had endured. Nirvana revolutionized a genre of music that opened the door for other artists to pave their own style of rock. The grunge era hit 1994, and it hit fast due in part by terrestrial radio. As a Nirvana fan I was very pleased to see that this band was receiving such a high honor. I am not here to talk about how great Nirvana was though, in fact I am writing to talk about their publicity in the realm of radio broadcasts that the band went through before, and after, their highlights as a sensation, and how they brought the fans closer to their music. Carrie Borzillo wrote about her experiences moments after Cobains death in Seattle Washington. Borzillo states that she heard of the news first on a Seattle radio station. The news spread fast because off the same Seattle station. Pretty soon the entire city of Seattle was lit up with candles and in morning of Cobain’s death. In the 90’s, radio still prevailed, and its relevance was still important. Nirvana came to fame because of their albums being streamed through terrestrial waves. Of course they toured, but the main outlet for music was still terrestrial radio. So many fans heard the news of Cobain simultaneously, especially in Seattle, because a radio was on everywhere. Today’s music does not have the same impact as it did in 1994. Having music ready to go at our fingertips through the internet is fun, and always very entertaining, but I feel sometimes it moves us away from the personal level to the artists. Fans were empathetic to Cobains’ death, and thousands of fans mourned his death. I think this had to do with the exclusiveness of their music being played through terrestrial waves. Internet radio has spoiled the music fan, and has changed how an artist can become famous. So for now let’s just celebrate one of the last bands to take hold of the terrestrial waves, and use it to its advantage.
In High school I knew that when I graduated I wanted to work in the broadcast field, I just did not know where or how I would do that. As I got older the internet became more integrated into different sections of the world around me. Like most kids, I started to surf, explore and wander for various, mostly useless, content on the web. I would use google to branch off from various different websites, and continue bouncing through just surfing the web. Eventually I went to Iheart Radio and I discovered Russ Martin the radio personality out of Dallas, and he inspired me to want to join the radio field. From there I searched through and discovered various other radio personalities. The more I searched through these websites the more ecstatic I became about wanting to join this lucrative field. This was my first experience with supernodes. By connecting multiple different websites and reference points to allow for efficient searching of the web, and easy access of data, users are more open to the content that floats among the vastness of the internet. For Radio and the Changing world (RCW) supernodes are very essential to its content.
Iheart radio is a radio application that is internet based but terrestrial radio dominates the content of the website itself. Iheart radio works as a supernode for stations across the nation. The user can search the specific genre and find a station from almost anywhere around the country that plays what the user is looking for. The excellent aspect about Iheart radio is that it attempts to keep the terrestrial waves alive. RCW is always a fan of anyone trying to revive the waves of terrestrial radio. Iheart radio serves as a supernode for RCW because it allows for me to search the waves and listen to various talk show hosts who not only suggest places for me to look for more information, but also reference specific individuals who happen to be experts in the field of terrestrial radio. Iheart radio helped me discover Mark Ramsey the media specialist and ex radio personality out of California, for who I have cited multiple times in the life span of RCW. Another important supernode would be BBC. Like Iheart radio, the site allows for the user to tune in to local British podcasts, but the content remains that of internet radio. BBC radio also caters to an entire community with various blog entries and media specialist who usually report on the latest trends of electronics and new media. Never have I actually taken the time to really listen to many podcasts from BBC, but I have taken time to read up on some of the content that makes its way though is website. Most of the time when I chose to write about electronics or a new applications involving radio, BBC usually has the scoop first, which is why I trust it as a search engine as well. BBC is the supernode that allows me to find published works from different experts that are diverse, and plentiful. It is hard to imagine the internet today without supernodes. They have taken a slow approach to work themselves into the fabric of our entire internet experience. From social media to applications, supernodes are far from being done with on the internet front, and continue to innovate how data in transferred across the World Wide Web.
Wikipedia is a site we should all be familiar with. The site we use to rip most of our source material for essays, you know the one. Wikipedia, the online collaboration site for many bits of information, has made a name for itself by having the answer to all the questions we have always wanted to know about people, places, and things. By allowing multiple people from around the world to add more information about a topic, Wikipedia is now one of the biggest collaboration sites the world has. I have always used the site myself, and always assumed that one had to be a special member in order to add edits to pages. Anyone with an internet connection can add edits the wiki pages it’s just up to that person to do the proper research.
Recently I got a chance to add some information on Wikipedia about one of my favorite talk show hosts, Russ Martin host of the Russ Martin show on 97.1 the Eagle. Since Radio and the Changing world is a radio based blog I chose to edit information of a local celebrity in the radio industry. Martin was arrested in 2008 for alleged assault charges on his then fiancée. After a lengthy 8 months in court, Martin finally accepted a plea bargain in which he was to do probation instead, and had his charges dropped to misdemeanors. Although a huge fan, I still advocate the fact that posting information like this is essential. I want to mention again I have a lot of respect for this man. He has used radio to not only forward his fame, but has used it to help others and those around him. Martin has started a charity foundation in which he supports the fallen officers and fire fighters of DFW, and pays adequate tribute to their families. I felt that it was necessary to add the controversial information about Martin to his Wikipedia page because it happened, and it was not already there. In order for this not to come back and haunt me I created the edit with a username that deviated from my main account. Multiple sources were available from the start due to the media frenzy all that had occurred when Martin ran into this dilemma. The edit itself was very short, but the information was acceptable for my cause. I have always heard people discredit Wikipedia because they believe the information is “not true”. When in reality the better way to state it would be inaccurate. Nobody can just throw random information to a Wikipedia page and expect it to stay. If information that is not true is posted the user will usually be banned from using the site anymore. I am glad I took part in this experience of editing a Wiki page. Although the content to which I added was sort of demeaning to Russ Martin the act of collaborating opened the door for other fans to assist in furthering what I added. This is the point of a Wikipedia page and this is only the beginning for what it could do for future sites.
2014 is an exciting time to be alive. In this day and age everything is changing, especially technology. The days of a family gathered around a radio are over. Dying radio markets are not something to be sad about, but rather embraced. When radio first came about it was designed to be a device used to transmit news and information across the masses. As time moved forward it became an outlet for musicians to not only play their music, but to advertise as well and allow others to discover it. Terrestrial radio was once the outlet for new music to be discovered, but now internet radio has stepped in to change the game. Just because terrestrial radio is dying doesn’t mean that all these intentions will end too, it just means that there is room to innovate the already existing platforms that we grew up on. The Future of Radio recently asked some individuals how they see the future of radio playing out, and each person had a different take on where this industry will head.
We live in a world in which we can establish a connection online almost anywhere and anytime we want. In the world of radio, this has resulted in people moving away from terrestrial radio to Internet radio. Internet radio looks like it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future due to services such as Spotify, which have really popularized listening to music online and on mobile.
Spotify has stolen the spotlight from services such as iTunes, due to its ability which allows a user to not only stockpile their own music playlists, but share them to the world of social media. Connor was strongly against using Spotify for a long time, but has been using it for the past two weeks for the sake of blogging and honestly feels that it is quite a good platform. Spotify allows the user to interact with terrestrial radio stations, but possesses the capability to do so much more than just a normal radio platform because it combines Pandora, iTunes, and Facebook. Pandora uses artists that a user is interested in to compile a database of songs that fit the user’s particular needs. iTunes allows the user to organize their music while having access to podcasts and terrestrial radio. Facebook allows the user to keep up with their friends, see pictures of family, and post about what they themselves are doing. Spotify combines all of these features into one effectively, aided by good design.
There’s a good chance that Spotify might not have taken off in the world of Internet radio if it had not been designed cleanly, and in a way that is familiar to the casual user. Before Spotify, iTunes had been the dominant music platform on computers, and many users had grown used to the Mac interface with the menu on the left-hand side and the Now Playing window at the bottom left-hand corner. Spotify wisely copied this interface from iTunes, so that users signing up for the first time would know exactly how to work the program and not quit for frustration with the interface. However, it also differentiates itself from iTunes at the same time with its strong use of color; the lime-green logo and the polished black UI makes the program clearly distinguishable and memorable to the user. But the feature that is especially done well in Spotify is its incorporation of ads into the overall design. In competing services such as Pandora, you often find that the ads don’t fit well into the UI and are often poorly designed; but in Spotify, the ads feature attractive, non-pixelated graphics that consistently show up at the bottom and right sidebars with a sleek animation that contribute to Spotify’s trendy and modern feel.
However, some users dislike looking at ads no matter how attractive they look. Like most digital platforms, Spotify has a fee for users who wish to experience an ad free environment with a subscription-based business model. Connor and Lina both feel that this is the future of Internet radio and design.