Solutions are Bigger than the Problem

I use personal experience as the basis for many articles at Audio Graphics. Metaphorically, most apply to the change occurring for radio - broadcasters and online - and independent artists. All are playing on unfamiliar digital ground.

The use of personal experience guarantees that my words are more than opinion. The headline above is a good example.

Succeeding online is far more difficult than what you usually read. There are dozens of disciplines needing to be understood, and many of them require a level of expertise if you want whatever is being tried digitally to work. Few times are the necessary effort and expense used when launching a station or artist's career online. A WordPress account, Facebook page, and Linkedin profile are the base, followed by bewilderment on why thousands of visitors don't roll in.

Said here in 2013, for radio: It will live in a lie to keep troop morale high, but creating something 'new' for advertiser or audience will not get past the talking stage.... Not even with the evidence of yesterday's radio revenue reports will action be taken. Instead, excuses will be used to get the industry through another three months. And the cycle repeats.

Sometimes solutions are bigger than the problems. That's where both radio and indie artists sit today. Both groups hoped that each would sit pat and wait out "change." That digital would circle and rejoin old business models. It hasn't. It won't.

We have now reached a point where solutions to solving an indie artist or radio station's problems are huge. The effort to correct is much more than if this issue had been addressed in 2005. Here is a good personal experience example, used in a metaphorical way: the electrical wiring in my attic.

I came across this a couple of weeks ago while checking winter insulation.

Those six horizontal lines are electric wires which go underneath a vertically running gas pipe. With the pipe laying on the wires, and exerting about 10 pounds of downward pressure, this was a disaster waiting to happen. (The older gray wires were frayed to a point of near exposure.)

I wedged that piece of wood in to lift the pipe, after I saw the problem. Metaphorically it's the fix that radio and indie artists have applied to the problem of facing a new day of digital competition - minimal at best, and definitely not long term.

The solution required more effort. I rewired all the attic's electric, which is similar to the "more effort" required by radio and indie artists to start using a digital world in ways that correct current audience and revenue problems. Sometimes you literally have to rip out what was and insert "new."

I'm seeing more reporting that radio is starting to crawl out of its digital problem through programmatic ad buying. It's another piece of wood, used to lift spirits temporarily but not of much use long term. (Programmatic will die on radio's vine like so many previous weak attempts at digital.)

I'm reading more at indie artist web sites on how simple it is to reach fans and generate revenue. It's another piece of wood, because of promotional problems caused by music's increased competition.

Appearing here in 2011 was this warning: "The use of smart phones, tablets, and PCs for listening to audio will increase. To counter this, radio should expand how it uses what digital offers - be it social media, email, data-capture, or analysis." In 2012 came this: "While it's abundant in hundreds of new media companies, innovation is a word that the radio industry has lost. Introducing 'new' is something that doesn't happen in radio [or music] anymore."

The 2011 comment is mirrored by one that appears today in a Radio Ink article from Director of Connected Car Innovations for Ford Direct, David DeMeo: "I don't want to pay for ears, I want to pay for actions."

The Audio Graphics' 2011 article said it like this: "The number of people that are reached is now taking a backseat to how many people reach back to the advertiser, and how many can be documented to have taken this action through an ad campaign/platform."

In 2009, I said it like this: "Radio Industry Sells Ads - Advertisers Buy Response."

Even after six years, the "solution" for both is bigger than the problem people who are affected are seeing. It's time to rip out what was and insert "new."

Friday, November 6, 2015      eMail to a Friend

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