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RAIN Poll results: Majority say Pandora is radio

survey checkboxes canvasHundreds of readers voted in the inaugural RAIN Poll. We asked: “Pandora is the leading ‘Internet radio’ service. Is Pandora radio?”

The results:

  • 52% said yes
  • 30% said no
  • 18% said yes and no

We also invited comments, and those who took the time to explain their positions showed off a range of attitudes. Some selections:

  • Get over it: The radio industry needs to get over this question. We should only care about this question if the customer cares, and I think they don’t.”
  • Missing parts: It is missing news or talk content for it to be ‘radio.'”
  • Strict definitionsPandora is Internet audio not radio! Radio is AM or FM.”
  • Hidden opportunityWho cares? If Pandora wants to call it ‘radio,’ then that gives broadcast radio a chance to re-define what it does.”
  • In radio’s face: It’s not radio but 80 % of the revenue model is based on audio ads. So we have to consider Pandora as a competitor in the radio industry.”

One thing is certain: the word “radio” has been changed. Radio originally described a technology; now it increasingly describes an experience.

It is marketing which has driven the changed definition. Technology companies use old words to describe new products, to help users understand and adopt them. Radio and Pandora are completely different technologies. But in both cases, you turn it on and listen. For many users, that experience describes radio. And for Pandora, using the term radio is a key marketing tactic in its quest to disrupt and displace radio.

Brad Hill

3 Comments

  1. It’s certainly not radio. A dozen reasons for starters: 1, Radio is one-way transmission; Net is two-way; 2, This permits precise audience counting, absent with radio; 3, This also enables precise audience targeting, absent with radio; 4, This also enables real commerce with transactions, absent with radio; 5, Radio has distance limits; Net has none; 6, Radio has limited fidelity; Net has no limits on audio quality; 7 Radio dial is limited; Net dial has no limits. 8, Radio is limited to AM/FM/HD standards; Net is not; 9, Radio depends upon sale of radio receivers; Net does not. 10, Radio requires government license; Net needs none. 11, Radio dial has no visual; Net has multimedia. 12, Radio pays nothing for the use of sound recordings; Net pays both sound recording owner and performers. Still, for now, radio wins in mobile environment due to quantity of audience (benefits sponsor), ubiquity of signal (benefits all players).

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