The Death of Radio

How many more years do you think AM/FM radio stations will be around for? With the ever increasing ability to access high speed Internet via cellular networks, it’s only a matter of time until the standard feature for all new cars will be full access to the Internet at all times. Imagine going into the car dealership and being asked if you’d prefer Windows or Mac software as your cars Internet operating system interface… I’ll pay the extra for MacOS.

In all honesty though, I think that this is a lot closer to being a reality than most people realize. Cadillac and Chrysler have already started selling cellular wireless routers as an add on to some of their automobiles. Full access to high speed unlimited bandwidth Internet while in the car at all times is going to change things in big ways… especially for the AM/FM Radio industry. This is going to kill it.

Radio just doesn’t stand a chance. Having access to all media forms via the Internet while in the car basically means that every one is going to be custom building their own content choices and experiencing completely personalized programming. Each person will tailor make their content before they even leave the drive way. Radio, in a nutshell is fucked.

Don’t get me wrong I like radio. I enjoy the ways that it helps to weed out music with high quality production vs low quality production (I’m referring to sound, not song writing, because there is some terrible music on the radio), and it’s nice to have a medium where when I’m in my car I can hear new bands I’ve never heard before. But even with that being said, radio is still becoming archaic. It’s going the way of print magazines and news papers. It’s value is decreasing more and more every year.

In the past bands and musicians direly needed the radio to get their music out to the world, and it still today has a huge influence of the majority of the population. The only problem is that this too is changing rapidly. The masses finally have the ability to hear what they want, when they want, via the Internet. They don’t need the radio to hear new music and this has finally given the masses the power of choice. The power to decide what they feel is good music and not what the radio station tells them. (More on this in a future post).

The biggest down fall of radio is going to be money, or lack there of. As car owners become just as easily connected to personalized content from the Internet as they are to radio stations, radio listeners are going to drop off… and as the listeners drop off, so do the advertisers. Advertisers are going to move to the online multimedia medium instead of radio, and it’s already happening. People won’t even need to tune into the radio to get traffic updates, or time and temperature reports any more, it will all be available through the Internet in your car.

In a perfect world this is what radio will become: I foresee a service where you personally will choose any songs (or genres) out of the DMDS database (that’s the digital database all radio stations pull their music from) and add them to your own play-list for your drive. The service will be free and there will be ads and the occasional updates from the “fake” DJ’s along with having to listen to their “morning shows” in between your own chosen programming.

Any one have a couple million to invest in my idea?

Didn’t think so.

So what does this mean for the music industry and the reach that record labels have over the mainstream population? Well when it comes to radio, we’re all fucked. But that rant is to come in another post. I’ve gone on long enough about this one.

I think we may have picked the wrong faucet of the entertainment industry to get into.


Shane Lamotte

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