Who Will Emerge As The Future of Radio?
March 24, 2008 at 6:00 AM (PT)
As the audience for AM and FM radio declines, start-up entrepreneurs and giant media companies alike search for the "next radio" -- a way to make money by helping listeners discover new music, writes THE WASHINGTON POST this weekend. Online music providers such as PANDORA, IMEEM and LAST.FM provide an early glance at that next chapter in radio history.
The search for a user-customized music "station" started in the early 1990s, when MIT's Media Lab created RINGO, a music recommendation engine that asked listeners to grade a few tunes and then offered them songs they might like. Now, CBS's LAST.FM site has become the first of the new generation of music sources to offer free, on-demand, full-length spins of any tune you want to hear -- not just the 30-second snippets available on ITUNES and most other music sites.
With increasing evidence that many people suffer from IPOD fatigue -- they know too well what's stored on their player and they crave surprise -- several companies are trying to figure out what blend of user-generated content and expert guidance will attract an audience.
PATRICK MCKINNON, 27, a computer engineer in AUSTIN, is a fan of the new music sources that created a mash-up that lets listeners use LAST.FM in combination with SLACKER, a new entry in the field that has one big advantage: It's portable; a $200 player connects to your personalized stations by WiFi.
"I often hear people from my parents' generation say, 'There will never be another BEATLES,' and they are absolutely correct," MCKINNON says. "Not because there will never be another band capable of making music as well as THE BEATLES, but because we no longer have to form our musical preferences based on a limited number of competing radio stations. We now have millions of people making millions of choices about what they want to listen to; it becomes rather improbable that a large majority will gravitate to the same conclusions about what music they prefer."
Check out the full article here.