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Music Radio's Challenges in the Digital Age

Radio Research 2013 • London 11-13 Sept • ECREA
by Luis Miguel Pedrero Esteban on 17 November 2013

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Transcript of Music Radio's Challenges in the Digital Age

In the 80s, the music industry adapted their strategies to
respond to the crisis in sales
by:
Luis Miguel Pedrero Esteban
The first radio DJs were responsible for
shaping the taste and critical perception of teenagers
who, when adults, continued to listen not only to radio
but also music!
School of Communication • Pontifical University of Salamanca
MUSIC RADIO'S CHALLENGES
IN THE DIGITAL AGE

RADIO
&
POP MUSIC
... with
MUSIC INDUSTRY
SUMMARY
The digital ecosystem of
POP MUSIC:
will it be ‘with’ or ‘without’
RADIO
?
New sources to enjoy
POP MUSIC
... without
RADIO
RADIO
&
MUSIC INDUSTRY
... without
POP MUSIC
Music radio emerged in the 50s with the support of
programmers

such as
G. McLendon

or

managers

such as

T. Storz
, but especially
disc jockeys
, starting with
Alan Freed
...
Radio disc jockeys

were probably the main reason why listeners came to discover, appreciate and

even buy music records
produced by singers they had never heard of before
1950s - 1970s
1980s - 1990s
2000 - present
A symbiotic relationship with the industry

= guaranteed, evolving and free content
By the late 70's music radio had become the most popular radio specialism worldwide due to:
Progressive diversification of formats

=

more listeners and better targeting
The credibility of its radio disc jockeys
= audience retention and acceptance
Portability
= easy of listening anywhere, especially when driving
In the future...
Pop music became a radio star
Angel Álvarez
Raúl Matas
José Mª Íñigo y Tomás Martín Blanco
‘El Gran Musical’
Joaquín Luqui
John Peel
Jimmy Savile
Rosko
Tony Blackburn
A global exploitation of new musical idols
A progressive concentration of major labels
An intensive duplicating of their catalogue onto CD
Under the rules of this new model
(music is not culture,
it is a business),
most commercial radio stations decided
to do business with the record companies, but...
what did radio do to pop music?
The Top 40 stations
were identified with
world pop music stars
as an agent of homogenisation rather than a means of showing new talent
Adult formats stopped playing their own hits selection to become
repeaters of greatest hits collections
(fortunately with a additional new song or two)
As a result commercial radio was an almost
exclusive medium
(despite MTV)
for the popularization of pop music
worldwide.

In the 90s it began to associate
their brand
more and more
with the songs and artists
, and less with disc jockeys and programmes
And then,
came the digital age...
The music that you can't hear here...
it's recorded in your heart
1950s-1970s
RADIO & POP MUSIC... WITH MUSIC INDUSTRY
1950s:

At the beginning of
Rock&Roll, POP MUSIC was the PRIMARY CODE of RADIO

@luismipedrero
1980s-1990s
RADIO & MUSIC INDUSTRY... without POP MUSIC
Nowadays
NEW SOURCES TO ENJOY POP MUSIC... without RADIO
In the age of social media, where
90% of all media interactions today are screen-based
(from smartphones and tablets to laptops and TV)...
... there is a strong
new digital ecosystem for consumption of pop music
based on slogan “anything, anytime, anywhere”...
Digital life has changed the resources to
discover music
and the
listening habits of the younger
generation...
Nevertheless, radio remains a
meeting point between pop music and listeners
and is trying to find its own role, particularly through smartphones
http://mashable.com/2013/07/10/sol-republic-music-infographic/
http://www.google.com/think/research-studies/the-new-multi-screen-world-study.html
http://www.siemer.com/news/siemer-associates-releases-summer-2013-digital-music-industry-report/
http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/jun-2013/citrix--data-provides-insight-into-mobile-subscriber-behavior-.html
http://mashable.com/2013/07/10/sol-republic-music-infographic/
The main challenges to music radio in the digital age
Bring Back the Disc Jockey!
Music radio must reclaim ownership of
pop culture
and to revive the
reputation of Disc Jockey
such as curator.
Disc Jockey is a lot more important than the musical content in communicating
the “identity” of the radio station, young or veteran!
Due to the slogan “less words, more music”, the emotional and passionate formats of 80s became in an
radio
without soul. Only DJ can restore the soul of music radio, “the human connection”, even in a podcast!
Radio is not
only
playing songs
In the internet era the main role of music radio is not ‘making hits’, but to capture the interest of teenagers:

a fun children experience with the radio is probably the only guarantee to their future, and music is the ‘key’.
Pop music is not
only
hits
Pop music playing on the radio nowadays is just a
little part
that young listeners can hear and even, ocasionally, buy (or something like that...)
Tim Wall
“Studying Popular Music Culture”

(2013)
Last Monday (07/09/2013)
Next Wednesday (18/09/13)
The digital music ecosystem multiplies every day...
but its essence remains overwhelming the same
http://bit.ly/MusicRNews
Top 40 format may be the “music fans home” such as
perfect mediator between teens and pop idols
through: shows, interviews, music sessions, events, famous singers like a DJ's or, radio plays or, why not, music talent shows like “X-Factor”.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01fg16f
The edited music catalog allows
new music niche radios
, with differential content and it own discourse, especially in Spain.
Much of the success of the digital music platforms is its ability to absorb new trends, artists and songs outside the majors and radio stations:
There is too much music that Shazam does not still recognize!
Ten years later there are
the same music radio formats
... and
the same absences!
The evolution of
Spanish music radio
(2002-2012)
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