Let's assume for a moment that Pandora survives its current troubles with Sound Exchange and let's take a look at what's behind this phenomenon. Whether royalty costs sink this NEW RADIO COMPANY it will be and is one of the programming models of the future we all should be paying attention to.
Let's start with their journey along the superhighway over the last 12 months:
Pandora is a unique concept--let's call it customized push based on a specific user input that induces a well received pull. In plain English it essentially reads your mind based on your musical desires when you choose to tap into to it. Along your journey with Pandora you can fine tune the nav system if you feel like it's veering off course.
Up until recently the Pandora experience has been one of laptop and desktop computers. Now with the release of the latest iPhone that has changed with the addition of what might be the hottest app to date-Pandora for iPhone. You can bet the ranch that iPhone will not be the last mobile device to allow Pandora access.
It's pretty clear how this is all starting to unfold. Please do not put your head in the sand. I am not ready to throw in the towel for music radio. I am prepared to change music radio to better compete with what's next. Mass appeal is not guaranteed any longer! If we think we are going to retain any sizable music audience by simply stringing a lot of songs back to back followed by a string of commercials and very little talk music radio is doomed. There isn't a single solution but there ARE solutions. The current tactics will eventually lead us off a cliff.
You have heard this before but it is worth repeating again and again and again. We are no longer in control. "They" are in control. They are the people who listen to our radio stations. They are in control of the music they listen to. They are in control of the personalities they choose to listen to and associate with. They will judge the authenticity of the product and products we push out of our transmitters, streams, podcasts and decide if it fills a need or not.
Of course listeners have always been in control...they could choose to turn of the radio or change stations. 8 tracks, albums, and CD's, certainly allowed for user control, however, it would be naive to not recognize the portability and richness that technology has achieved over the last decade.
Take a few minutes and watch this video from Phil Leigh's Inside Digital Media Blog and see for yourself what a Pandora principle has to say.