While I was undertaking my research for in-stream audio, one interview couldn’t be scheduled in time before the cut-off date for editing. It was with a company called Spectrum Medya, which launched Karnaval.com, a digital radio platform, about a year and a half ago. Spectrum is based in Istanbul – the intersection of where the East meets the West — and in many ways, it's charting where traditional radio meets digital audio. Karnaval has a hugely popular Internet radio stream and was recently selected by Wired Magazine UK as one of the 100 hottest startups in Europe.
I’ve included a transcript of my interview with Ali A. Abhary, Spectrum's CEO (Twitter: @alitalks), below for you to see how a publisher is handling and viewing these changes in the audio ecosystem.
Q. Tell me about your service.
A. Spectrum Medya is owned by private equity fund the Actera Group, which joined two and a half years ago. At the time, the Spectrum consisted of five terrestrial radio station networks across 20 to 30 different cities in the country. Turkey had state-owned broadcasting until the '90s, until deregulation, which is when we got chance to really steer two of the oldest radio stations in Turkey under our own control.
Q. How was the ad business for traditional radio before digital?
In 2002, the zeitgeist orchestrator David Bowie opined, “Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity.” A few years later, in 2005, the futurists Gerd Leonhard and Dave Kusek proposed “music as water” in their industry-shaking book, The Future of Music (A Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution).
The metaphor was simple — music would flow on demand, like a utility, to people's home hi-fis and portable music players. Subscription access to "all" music was the approach that ultimately ended up with no more ownership of physical or even digital copies; CDs, mp3s, and the other ground-bound trinkets would no longer be necessary. Even in my own behavior, I see this change — where once I’d spend time ripping my CDs and loading up my 160GB iPod, now I simply curate music, like my Boxing playlist, in the cloud via Spotify.
Eleven years later, Bowie’s prediction is coming true and streaming is progressing at speed. In metropolitan Argentina 1 in 3 consumers are listening to streaming music - evenly split between mobile and computers (desktop, laptop, tablet). In France 15% of those we surveyed streamed on a computer but a whopping 27% used mobile. In fact this trend to streaming via mobile is likely to be one that will continue worldwide and today in metropolitan regions of Hong Kong and Mexico, as well as South Korea mobile has already considerably overtaken computers as the preferred listening method.
The sheer number and types of devices on which people can listen to music have expanded enormously in the past few years. How has that affected people's music consumption? Our Technographics survey data shows that the car stereo is the most popular device on which to listen to music, followed by the home stereo and the PC. About one-third of US adults regularly listen to music on a MP3 player, and 8% listen on their cell phones.
Even though music functionality on phones has been around for about six years, only iPhone owners have adopted it in a significant way. What keeps consumers from adopting new music offerings? A recent Forrester report called "Which Device Offers The Best Music Experience?" uses Forrester's Convenience Quotient (CQ) methodology to assess a sample of devices to evaluate consumer experiences. This analysis shows that every device currently available leaves consumers with a wish list of features and improvements: challenges with installation and setup, an inability to share music, a broken link between music and video, or a lack of logic in the navigation. The tradeoff for consumers is simple: They only adopt something new when the benefits are bigger than the barriers.
The bands gaining ground include the E Street Band, Doors, Replacements, Ramones, and Beach Boys. New entries incude The Eagles, REM, and Sonic Youth.
My put-down in the original post has rallied the Dead supporters -- they are trying to move the Jerrys past the Brothers. Which reminds me of a most excellent rock and roll joke:
What did one Dead Head say to the other Dead Head when the drugs ran out? "This music sucks!"
Here's the latest ranking.
Allmans Dead E Street Band Doors Replacements Beach Boys Ramones Aerosmith The Band ZZ Top Metallica Velvet Underground Nirvana Phish REM Guns N' Roses Pearl Jam Eagles Black Crows Creedence CSN&Y Foo Fighters Fugazi Jefferson Airplane Little Feat NRBQ Rush Stooges Talking Heads Tom Petty and Heartbreakers White Stripes Wilco Sonic Youth REM Crazy Horse (Neil Young) Clutch Chili Peppers
Quickly: Give me your vote for the greatest American rock and roll band.
Content: A few years ago I went to an Aerosmith concert with two of my sons and some of my childhood friends. En-route, we argued about who was the greatest American rock and roll band.
There's rough consensus that the Brits dominate the overall list (The Who, Beatles, Stones, Zep, Cream, et. al.).But who would be at the top of the American list?
We had two rules: 1) You can't choose an individual, so that eliminates Dylan, Elvis, and arguably Jimi, and Bruce. 2) We tolerated a smattering of Canadians, so that keeps The Band and Crazy Horse in the running.