Ron Jacobs supports ReelRadio.com

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Ron Jacobs supports ReelRadio.com

Postby jon » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:34 pm

The following (portion of an) e-mail was received today by Uncle Ricky, the curator of ReelRadio.com, the #1 site for listening to airchecks of Top 40 radio since it began in 1996.

Ron Jacobs was the Program Director of KHJ, the most successful Drake format Top 40 station of all time. He also created the Cruisin' series of aircheck LPs. And, I'm happy to report, is a member of RadioWest.ca.

"Richard: I love how seriously you take this, how you steadfastly maintain your ethics and high standards and have fought through all the obstacles and bullshit over the years to keep it going. Everyone in, or into, Top 40 Radio should be thankful that you had the foresight to conceive ReelRadio and the expertise to implement and maintain it, especially since ReelRadio began when most people would have thought a 'web site' was where spiders hung out. Mahalo for your patience in putting up with my pestiferous pursuit of perfection. I treasure our association and am proud to be so splendidly represented in your pages, most recently by the CRUSIN' series."

And, yes, it does cost $12/year U.S. to listen to airchecks. But it was either Start Charging or stop being able to add new airchecks every Sunday morning. (The site has permanent funding that should keep it alive forever, but no provision for all the labour each week associated with the level of audio artistry required to make new airchecks sound SOOOO good.)
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Postby Jack Bennest » Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:14 pm

Thank god radiowest is free!

Just think of the articles, jingles, pictures and posts - all free and donated by people not interested in charging a fee.

(please note I am not commenting on any site that may charge a fee)
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Postby jon » Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:40 pm

Perceptions change. Over time. And from one Service to another (type).

Time: Stan Freberg actually issued an LP called "Pay Radio" in the mid-'60s. Even then, there was talk of Pay Television, but "everyone knew" it would never happen. Yet, today we have both. Even Basic Cable (let alone Premium Services) and its satellite and telco equivalents are bundlings of fees paid to some of the channels that you get in the channel package provided. Satellite Radio, of course, is Pay Radio, though it has some way to go before it reaches the almost universal North American acceptance we find with TV.

Different Types of Services: we happily pay $400 or more a year for Broadband (high speed) Internet service, without expecting any content from the Internet Service Provider. Yet, we expect the Content to be provided free of charge.

Why? Because that is the way it has "always" been.

Even when they make no sense. Take digital cameras and computer Printers for a couple of good examples. They are often sold below cost, especially when you factor in the R&D costs of coming out with new models of digital cameras (which really drive printer usage) and printers as frequently as they do.

And, with good reason. In a talk by Hewlett-Packard (HP) a few years ago, they basically said that 90+% of the profits of HP -- a huge company -- were in two consumables. One was printer ink and toner. (for the moment, I forget the other) Their business model was: give away the hardware and software, and make your money on the consumables.

Cell phones are a similar business. Give away free cell phones and $300 in merchandise (e.g. - a Dell computer) to sucker people into signing a three year cell service contract with "Get Out" clauses that are as bad as Car Leases.

And the same results occur: Rogers and the telcos make the vast majority of their profits on cell phone usage.

Before we point the finger at other cultures for having strange traditions, it might make sense to pause and look at some of our own weirdnesses.
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Postby jon » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:10 am

Top Dog wrote:Thank god radiowest is free!

Just think of the articles, jingles, pictures and posts - all free and donated by people not interested in charging a fee.

(please note I am not commenting on any site that may charge a fee)

ReelRadio's subscription model allows it to do things RadioWest cannot (feasibly) do today. Unscoped (with the music included) airchecks are the main thing.

(1) Substantial money is required to pay the (U.S.) music licensing fees, even for an "on demand" non-profit corporation like ReelRadio Inc. had to set itself up as, to qualify for the lowest rates;
(2) Substantial amounts of software must be written (not sure if you can purchase any to do the job) to capture and format the data required by the music licensing folks (there is more than one organization that has to be paid);
(3) Substantial amounts of labour is required to fill out the required forms (paper work) from the music licensing folks.

It may also require a move to audio streaming, as opposed to the much simpler Download approach we use at RadioWest. The music licensing rates for Downloading are much higher than for Streaming. It is hard to find a Web Site Host that provides audio streaming servers.

Moving out of the U.S. for our Web Site Host is a possibility, but I don't think it is a winning solution. If we move to Canada, not only are hosting prices at least five times higher, but SOCAN has already warned that it will (eventually) follow suit with the U.S. and retroactively charge for past music licensing fees. Free now, pay later. Bad idea.

Moving to other another country seems to fall into two categories. I haven't look hard at it, but my vague generalizations separate countries into two categories: (1) ones likely to impose retroactive music licensing fees in the future; and (2) ones where I don't believe we could find the kind of Web site reliability we expect, because of some combination of poor infrastructure and how customer service is managed (typically, inadequate English language staffing to handle anything more than a very minor problem). Ironically, as a country moves out of (2), it generally moves into (1) because it suddenly appears on the Radar of the Music Licensing folks.

Finally, once you are paying music licensing, unexpected bursts of activity can kill you, financially. A subscription model eliminates that risk, because your maximum audience is fairly small. We've already experienced it on RadioWest, where we've seen huge spikes in downloads that we've been able to trace back to a single mention on any of the popular Mainland China web sites.
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Postby Jack Bennest » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:13 pm

Top Dog wrote:Thank god radiowest is free!

Just think of the articles, jingles, pictures and posts - all free and donated by people not interested in charging a fee.

(please note I am not commenting on any site that may charge a fee)


(please note I am not commenting on any site that may charge a fee)
(please note I am not commenting on any site that may charge a fee)

I wish I could say that in Chinese!
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