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Apple’s New Nano: Radio Reinvented

If you own a DVR and have realized that watching television is an entirely new and fresh experience when you truly are in control, then have I got a product for you.

In case you missed the announcement yesterday, one of the many features of the new iPod Nano is an FM tuner.  But not just any FM tuner mind you.  Side note: I honestly think those in the industry clamoring for an FM transmitter to be added to everything from your toaster to your blow dryer are wasting their time.  The need still exists to think of your radio station beyond your terrestrial FM signal.

Having said that, I underestimated the power of a company like Apple to completely reinvent the experience.  If you’re like me and own a DVR, or listen to podcasts often, or generally appreciate the power of time shifting the content you consume, you too may have found yourself reaching for your radio dial attempting to do the impossible: rewind the feed to confirm you did indeed just hear the phrase “F hole.”

Guess what?  You can do that now.  Interrupted while listening?  Pause the song that’s playing and pick up where you left off.  If the station allows song tagging, you can even “bookmark” the song so that the next time you sync your Nano with iTunes, you can go through your list of tagged songs, preview them and purchase the ones you want.

I’ve recently begun to notice more and more the “radio is not where it’s at” montra.  If you’re an artist or a label, replacing radio as a destination for your music is not only unwise, it’s just plain dumb.   Why would you when radio listening could directly result in the purchase of one of your songs?

Don’t look now but I think listening to the radio just became cool again; for the average consumer as well as the industry.  Thanks Apple.

Am I wrong?  Do these seem like cool features to you as a consumer?  Do you like the idea of being able to pause your radio?  Rewind it?  Fast forward it?  Tag a song?  What difficulties does this present for advertisers, if any?

The Importance of Consumable Content

I read with great interest a recent post from one of my favorite social media bloggers, Chris Brogan, on USA Today, CNN Headline News and the world of bite-sized media.

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His observations of the two media giants won’t be revelatory to most media veterans, but they do serve as timely reminders.  Are you offering your content (your station’s, your blog’s, your label’s, your company’s) in bite-sized, consumable portions?  Or do you view doing so as bastardizing your business model?

The music industry, of course, has had no choice but to revisit the bite-sized model with the advent of the iPod.  No longer are long-form album projects the default purchase for a wider and wider swath of consumers.

For radio this means, among other things, taking advantage of more and more ways to distribute your content (be that podcasts, behind the scenes video from the studio or backstage at concerts, or wherever).   Furthermore, every break has to, from beginning to end, stand on its own.  If I’m new in town and just hearing your show for the first time, will I “get it” from the moment you open the mic, or feel like I’ve joined a conversation already in progress wondering what I missed?  If not, go back to the drawing board.  Study broadcast industry veterans like Tommy Kramer and John Frost for more.

For the publishing industry, the scenario is similar.  You must take advantage of newer and bolder ways to distribute content, as opposed to shunning those opportunities (including the Amazon Kindle and the iPhone).  One of my favorites to follow in the publishing industry is Michael Hyatt.  For more on his thoughts on where the publishing industry is going, check here.

As Chris Brogan puts it, “we’re trending more towards the short info.”  I’ll put it this way:

If you’re not ready or willing to adjust the way you distribute your content or product in order to meet the needs and desires of those consuming it, you will not last.