Does Radio Have a Future?

An unlikely prediction about the future of
radio and the music industry is found on The Motley by Rick Munarriz.
He writes that the future of the music industry is in the hands of Google, Yahoo
and Microsoft.

The future of the music industry is in the hands of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft according to Motley Fool writer Rick Munarriz. Munarriz writes about stocks for The Motley and is a musician on the side.

He traces recent history in music storage and sharing to build his case, and it’s an interesting one. His contention is that the future of music is local. We’ve come to the end of the global rock star era and we’re entering the era of local bands. It’s a part of the fragmentation of the audience into niches.

As a result, the old model of music distribution, casting a wide net to snag a national audience, doesn’t hold because the holes in the net are getting larger, he says. Local bands have created local following. They slip through the net unnoticed and are unappreciated beyond their own territory.

He also points out that this is a result of audiences following their own musical tastes which are, of course, connected to their own lived experiences.

The key to selecting music in the future will be the search engine and the web community that connects interested fans with the music they want to hear, according to Munarriz.

If it’s true that music forms us, and that music from our place is more likely to describe life for us than music made bland by trying to appeal to the widest possible audience, then Munarriz may be on target. Local bands have been on the upswing for the past few years and the Internet has given them the exposure they couldn’t get otherwise through national channels.

And further, if this is an accurate assessment it spells dark times for consolidated radio and record companies. It’s one more example of the fragmentation of the mass audience into niche groupings.

All of this points to the importance of the search engine as the means of information collection. Munarriz says even the search engines don'[t yet fully understand or appreciate the place they occupy in this new marketplace, but they will soon enough. He says it’s already happening and the mass media are beginning to see the handwriting on the wall. They must change, but Munarriz says change won’t be enough. A new paradigm is being born.

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