Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Digital shift makes radio like never before

The music industry just isn't what it used to be decades ago. In your dad's time, an artiste asking a radio station to pay royalties was unheard of and would promptly result in the artiste disappearing from radio waves and seeing CD sales tank.

Today, CD sales are tanking anyway. And the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) wants radio stations to pay up. Simple logic really. It used to be that both the recording industry and radio stations had a symbiotic relationship. Radio stations get to play songs for free and make money off selling ads. The recording industry got free publicity from radio stations and sold CDs to make money.

Radio no more? - Share on Ovi

In about 40 years, this has changed. Today, CDs are not the only way people buy music and radio is no longer the only way for people to hear about a great act. The internet means word-of-mouth is much more effective and distribution doesn't have to be physical.

So, along comes the RIAA with the idea that since it no longer relies on radio to make CD sales, and since, this essentially means the radio stations are making money for free off their content, they should get a cut of the advertising revenue. Genius!

This has stoked quite a lot of debate, and while its a sad situation for radio, I do think that industries do need to adapt to the realities ANY social shift incur upon them. In this case, the internet, the proliferation of personal media players and the digitisation of music have put the radio stations in a spot. But if the old business model breaks, then the new business models must come on.

My suggestion would be that radio stations start thinking about how to disassociate proprietary content from music. Funny hosts, witty scripts and the opportunity to interact is what makes most of the charm of radio. With music now being such a personal thing, and iTunes helping people sample and enjoy songs much more than ever, radio stations need to think of making relevant content.

What about a couple of talk show podcasts? Quality content people can listen to anytime, anywhere. Or branching out to video?

We're certainly seeing that now in Malaysia with the effort Media Prima puts behind developing gua.com.my but there's definitely a long road to tread. Still, with the ruckus the RIAA is creating in the US, it'd be wise for radio broadcasting industries in other countries to start preparing for the inevitable - when a media consumption format starts to go the way of the dodo.

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