Blog Post

Consumer, Not God is a DJ

My column from Business 2.0 has generated a ton of debate, and emails. Rags Gupta over at Digital Music News, is taking me to task. In my defense I present this data from comScore, which helps make my point. Ten years, streaming radio has gained at best 6 million listeners. And that during a time when we could not slice and dice the music, or what I like to call, “my music my way!” Anyway back to Rags argument, which is something like this, “Om thinks that streaming radio is separate from podcasting, I consider them to be separate faces of the same “IP-enabled Radio” coin, if you will, and not mutually exclusive.” Well, the key difference is that some deejay is defining my list, but in podcasting and subscription music services, I am the deejay.

9 Responses to “Consumer, Not God is a DJ”

  1. Rusty Hodge

    In your article, you fail to mention that music podcasting is for the most part illegal. The licensing restrictions and costs are so oppressive that no one is licensing it now, with the exception of Podcasters who are including completely independent music used with permission of the artists; or in the case of some podcasts which are basically commercials for certain record companies who have sponsored (and granted licenses to) those podcasts.

    If you hear popular music in Podcasts, it is most likely as illegal as downloading music from a p2p network.

  2. good discussion/debate guys…one big point in the favor of streaming in my view is that it’s the lazy person’s way easiest way out. I think Rags was more politically correct in calling it “passive listening”.

    I believe most people really can’t be bothered looking up the greatest/latest hits on itunes, meticulously downloading it, burning/or ipodding it to listen on the road, etc. The new streaming services seem poised to be substantially improved in terms of selection, flexibility and convenience vs. downloading and satellite.

    In that context, I’m in the process of cancelling several xm accounts in favor of rhapsody and napster streaming via a wireless home network throughout the house. Substantial savings, and lot more music discovery.

    curious if either of you has seen any good numbers of how satellite radio listenership breaks down between home/office and car. Intuitively, it would be much higher (say, 60% or more) in terms of commuting auto-based listeners.

    Whatever is left, could be threatened by streaming music services.

    I’m looking forward to what Yahoo! and MSN announced in this area in coming weeks/months.

  3. Om, I can see what you’re saying about being your own DJ, and I certainly like doing that, too. On the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to let someone else take the reins for a while, in no small part because another DJ can introduce you to music you might have missed otherwise.

    Regardless, podcasting beats streaming in all sorts of ways. I would rather load up my Gmini with new podcasts than wasting web bandwidth or killing my cell phone battery with something like iRadio. In a sense, the podcasting model makes both the listener and the show’s host feel like they’re controlling the mix. Pretty cool, eh?

  4. Jim Parsons

    Let’s not forget “possession of the bits”. Streaming gives a greater degree of control over the experience to the content owner, program director, etc., at least in the traditional sense. Advocates of streaming (Real & MS) have been making this argument to media conglomerates for years now. A podcast, or any download model where you wind up in possession of the bits on your hard drive (DRM or not), gives the user greater control. I know which one I prefer.
    Although I agree with Om, I’m sure God has a totally bitchin’ booth to spin tunes in :-)

  5. i think maybe i am not being clear in what i am saying. its we playing deejay by picking stuff we want to listen to. i don’t think the canned streaming audio format works. podcasting is only a small part of the whole equation. i am talking about my playlist. deejay is me

  6. I have to disagree with you on your basic point here (although it may be a matter of semantics). While podasting does allow you to play program director in terms of creating a custom playlist of shows, it doesn’t allow you to play DJ; the host of each podcast is the DJ defining the list for his or her show. In fact, if you want to play DJ then a subscription music service and a portable MP3 player are all you need.