Apple to (re) iNvent radio

Apple have launched their music streaming service in the UK and at the same time claim that “Apple has also redesigned radio ”

This is quite a claim given that radio and music radio have been available around the world for many years in many forms and across various delivery channels. Radio can claim to be the first technology to have universally agreed global standards and has a long history of reaching across borders and connecting like minded people in separate communities. Many people have tried to improve radio either by changing the technology or the commercial model and appart from the introduction of FM and the limited use of DAB all have met with failure. The  challenge for the newcomers is buried in the simplicity of the basic idea, the massive installed base of equipment and the way content is communicated.  I think it’s important to think on this for a moment. I am sure you have heard it said that people prefer radio because the pictures are better.  Its an old saying but cuts to the inner truth of broadcast content -that someone else is telling us a story and the experience is driven by the capability of the presenter.

We may believe that with low cost digital music with us all the time we can do without music radio but with our own music we are only listing to our own story. We all need someone else to to be our curator or story teller, otherwise – how do we discover the new, have or boundaries challenged or define the limits of our own taste?

With Apple bringing in established presenters and making a huge catalogue available how will the make their service different from other internet radio providers? The difference has to be in iTunes and the ability to monetize our listening.

The one challenge to commercial radio has been the growth of online advertising taking a significant proportion of radios revenues. The reason is plain to see. How do you target advertising on radio? and more importantly, how do you measure its impact? This is the real killer opportunity for Apple. Data, Data, Data. What we listen to, when and where. This is the true redesign. For commercial benefit.

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