Media Business Strategies

The Blog of David Polakoff

Listening To You, I Get the Music –Part I

Posted by David Polakoff on March 11, 2009

The Windmills of My Immediate Mind

Media Business Strategies – David Polakoff

Listening To You, I Get the Music –Part I

I work in the media/entertainment business because of my passion for film, music, sports, television: anything that entertains and influences emotions and senses. I am a frustrated music consumer, though; I crave iconic music and new music, across several genres. And so as intrigued as I am about music discovery, I am also excited, puzzled, under and overwhelmed about how to efficiently source the music I need, today. Life used to be simple as I was satiated by the musical offerings of commercial radio….

After MTV launched on August 1, 1981 with the Buggles’ music video,“Video Killed the Radio Star,” and before the ipod, webcasting, and streaming of radio broadcasts, radio killed the radio star.

The mid-1990s tele-communications deregulation fueled consolidation of radio stations and the ensuing gutting of local program directors and disc jockeys and the homogenization and dulling of playlists. Just listen to Tom Petty’s 2002 release, “The Last DJ” and you’ll hear the saga. The ability to enjoy a (reasonably interrupted commercial) radio program, learn the history and context of songs and artists, and the discovery of new music and artists was scratched.

The new radio conglomerates were not without supporting players. The record labels’ days of grooming new artists and patience for underperforming singles or albums ended. Greed in compact disc pricing also turned off consumers.

Along comes the internet and there’s a new stage for new music and artists and from 1999 – 2001, Napster creates the (illegal) alternative to “overpriced” compact discs. Also in 2001, Apple introduces the ipod and the new digital music purchasing paradigm. And in 2001, the bubble bursts, but broadband penetration, bandwidth, and websites all rise with Web 2.0 sometime around 2004. Within Web 2.0 comes legal (and some illegal) websites and legal (and some illegal) access to all kinds of music, from all over the globe. And yes, within this period came subscription satellite radio and some (favorable) reversions in the broadcast radio industry resulting from overleveraged conglomerates, changes in the ad market, and the new competing distribution platforms for music. Oh, and through all of this, the brick and mortar stores disappear – along with the collection and discovery of new music through aisle browsing, listening kiosks, and from the store’s blaring CD player.

Today, I have more options than time to listen to and purchase “old” and “new” music from: broadcast independent, public, and commercial radio streamed on my computer or PDA from anywhere in the world; iTunes and Amazon stores; record label websites; satellite radio; MusicChoice on my television; AOL Music, MySpace, Yahoo! Music, and YouTube;, CD,,,,,,,,;,,,,,,; etc.

Not one of these platforms is ubiquitous and that’s fine; we are likely not in need of the one stop shop. There are occasions to shop in the department store of the mall; and the times to visit its specialty shops.

As a solutions oriented media consultant, I have the breadth of experience and expertise to problem solve, but sometimes, my best solution requires broad based research or the procurement of experts. So, my media consumed readers, I’m looking for your recommended 21st century single best source for music and why your top choice is preferred. I’ll publish the anonymous results in a subsequent posting. “…From you I get opinions. From you I get the story. Listening to you I get the music….” (“The Who”)

7 Responses to “Listening To You, I Get the Music –Part I”

  1. Gene said

    Put me down for Pandora. I’ve tried a bunch of the others and they’re good. But I keep coming back to pandora.

  2. David said

    “I get excitement…”
    Another approach to music discovery is ‘social music recommendation’ based on the psychological perception of music. Our new service Music Patterns provides customized playlists based on music that ‘People Like You’ actually listen to.

    Using a psychology-based approach to music preferences, this method combines your individual preferences with identifying those that are similar to your ‘music personality.’

    This new form of social music recommendation was developed from years of research in this area by best selling author Dr. Dan Levitin and our team at Signal Patterns.

  3. Tracey said

    I’m following the most recent changes in the book publishing world too. With the new Google Book Settlement, there will soon be more on-line accessibility for print as well as music.

    I agree that there is so much overload of media outlets that it is hard to sort it out. The advent of on-line digital video is also making cable tv, with its pre-selected channels, a dinosaur. I’ve recently “unplugged” from my cable, and, as an experiment, I am getting all of my media over the internet.

  4. Kari said

    This is sad, but the music paired with some shows (like Life and House) is more interesting than the stuff most radio stations play. I’ve bought more music after online searching movie and program playlists than from other sources. I used to be a big indie music store devotee, and buy music that the guy recommended (with good results) but my last two stores went out of business a few years back. I do listen to the new 101.9, especially the morning show. I just don’t have time to search on line for new stuff, unless I’m already a fan of the band.

  5. Dennis said

    I read The Tonequest Report and Guitar Player magazines since I am an amateur guitar player. These mags (esp TQR)do reviews on the best new guitar players (like Joe Bonamassa).
    I usually go to Amazon to sample their tunes and if I like them, I buy an album from Amazon.

  6. Phil Cartwright said

    I am an American who has lived n France for many years. I’m also fairly close to some segments within the music biz. Broadly speaking, my source for information about music is the Internet – social networking and trade news such as Music Week. I actually create my longest playlists on iTunes (my single answer). I can almost always find what I’m looking for on iTunes. I download from artist sites as well for demos and new releases. Somehow, I still wind up with a lot of CDs!!!

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