There’s NEVER a Free Lunch. E-V-E-R!

Lately it has become very apparent that during what we in radio would call “prime,” SPOTIFY is taking it’s cue’s from FM music radio.  Recently, the spotload is ramping up.  First it was one or two spots in each block… now we are pushing 3, sometimes 4! It used to be limited to 1 or 2 spot blocks  per hour…now, let’s just say its around 3.  Hey, we all gotta eat.  I get it.

I also understand SPOTIFY wants to sell consumers it’s pay service. Pushing and getting more paying subs may be the only long term solution to profitability.  Just last year said this in an article about SPOTIFY: “it is still incapable of making a profit—and because of the way the music business works, it may never make one”.

Um, doesn’t that sound discouraging and bad.

Let me be clear about something, I am an advocate for the commercial content model.  Within reason–willing to hear spots in exchange for content for a service I love.  And I do love SPOTIFY.  But here I am writing this article. What gives?

Let me be clear about something else. I also chose the free SPOTIFY because the sound quality was far better than one might expect from a free “degraded” service.  In fact, running it through my outboard speakers and Breakaway audio processor (thank you Leif Claesson) it sounds great. That mixed with limited commercials and I was satisfied.

One more thing about SPOTIFY that has irritated me and tacit proof THEY are aware of how damaging it is to the free service.  All commercials including including promos used to be listed in the users history list and now it’s just the songs.

SPOTIFY, you listening?  I’m a music fan, a professional broadcaster, and an advocate for the “spots for content model” and you are pissing me off. In the same way broadcast radio stations have pissed off listeners by pushing the limits of commercial time that it’s no easy task to sit through an entire stopset.

Sure, there’s always been stations who have known no limits on minute/unit count but let’s take a look back at a few of the standard commercial break structures that served stations, listeners, and advertisers well beginning nearly 40 years ago.  Clocks 1, 2 and 3 would be welcomed by cheers today.

clock oneclock 2

clock 3

Clock 4 we could live with and even clock 5 if we had to.

clock 4clock 5

Clock 6 goes like this.  Imagine the meeting.  No one likes spots, why not just cluster them all together in one mega break and get people to listen the rest of the hour. Yeah, I know you’ve been in that meeting.  Nice idea…might have worked for a while. LOL!clock 6

OK, so let’s finish up by tying these two ostensibly different stories together.  To recap…the free service on Spotify is getting cluttered. Broadcast radio is cluttered even as stations have reduced jock talk and promo length. They way people hear, use, and expect to consume media has/is rapidly changed and broadcasters are still largely doing it how it was done in 1984.

PPM is “the great teacher” because we can actually see what happened moment-to-moment, right?  Seemingly supporting the continued use of long spot clusters and reduced everything else.

Speaking as a proud contrarian — ENOUGH!

There is no law that says spots or banter or promos must be structured one way or another.  In fact, even if PPM indicates a particular pattern or structure is best…question it.  I know it’s a counter intuitive and radical suggestion.  I’ve been talking to clients and associates about how we can shake it up, make it different, and weather the storm of wobbly ratings. Better now, controlled, then waiting for tomorrow when it will be too late. I know first hand there’s many considering new and original options. People are scared of what doesn’t feel comfortable–but I encourage everyone to allow yourself to commit to a new and FRESH way…because honestly, we have NO choice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s