Saturday, February 14, 2015

My contemplation on radio

Was pleased to see on social media that recently was World Radio Day. And I grew up listening to the radio and it was a wonderful gift, as I realize MOST of the music I've heard in my life, I'm sure I heard on the radio. And, um, didn't have to pay for it, which I emphasize to talk about some of the weird that came with the rise of the web.

For instance, I'd see emphasis on this supposedly stunning damage done by the web, where people would claim that every listen of a song by someone who didn't pay was lost revenue!!! It was as if they had never heard of radio.

Um, for those of you who haven't heard, on the radio, gasp, they play music without asking you to pay. Some might retort, but yeah, you have to listen to ads.

Yes, but the ads pay for the radio, they do NOT pay the music artists.

How many people I wonder thought that artists get paid for radio plays?

Well, they do not. Radio is considered promotional. Which is a great perspective, and it's also pertinent I think to open source. For instance, you're possibly reading this post because of my open source project. It may be why you know this blog is here.

Promotion is great! And things operated just fine with a system where artists could hear their music and songs on the radio, being listened to by millions of people and be gratified without getting paid a penny for it.

But what about all this noise about the horrors of the web in supposedly attacking the music industry? My answer: It's all about distribution.

Turns out that music executives had a very profitable way of selling music to people which radio helped promote. All that promotion helped get people into music stores where they would mostly buy albums.

This physical movement of humanity drove a profitable business model which employed lots of people including people in the middle between the artists and the fans, including those music executives!

But, in contrast, the web allowed direct distribution--artists could conceivably get their music directly to fans without any of those people, including the music executives.

And it turns out that people quite prefer downloading their music versus getting up and going physically to some location to buy some physical thing.

After all, they just want the music, right? I know I do. Why do I also have to have some clunky piece of plastic with the music on it?

But those clunky pieces of plastic were profitable to music executives, and others admittedly as well. They wanted people to buy this  plastic stuff with music on it, whether they needed it or not!

So the music executives fought the web, and the web won.

The web is quite simply a much more preferred distributor of music. I know I like it.

Today a lot of listening to music is, I think, still promotional. And a lot of it is still through traditional radio where artists still aren't getting paid--yes web radio is a bit of a different animal, where they may--but do you hear whining from music executives about the horror, horror, horror of it?

People today are listening to music through so many other ways, and yes, people like me, when I find music I love, I love supporting the artists and will pay for it, just like before.

So the web didn't really change what was important. It just helps us to see what that important thing really is.

And with music, the best relationship is the direct one between the artist and fans.

Which the web simply strengthened.

Oh my, given the holiday today, isn't that sweet? I think we can call it a true love.

Such a beautiful thing to contemplate.

So radio, can you please be my Valentine? I do so love you.

You have been there for me and millions around the globe for as long as I can remember. Thank you.

James Harris
Post a Comment