Jerry Del Colliano is writing about Last.fm today. They’ve just opened up their music library for free requests on demand, with ads. Jerry says they’ll fail with young people, because young music fans want to own their music. Could be. Jerry’s reacting to a Motley Fool commentary that claims Last.fm will kill broadcast music radio. I agree with Jerry. Radio’s killing itself, no help needed from Last.fm or other Internet and music streaming services, which are not “radio.” He argues, accurately, that radio should be entertaining listeners, beyond playing music, and it doesn’t anymore. Jerry’s focused on young people and their music habits because he teaches at USC, and because as a veteran radio programmer he’s familiar with radio’s former love affair with Baby Boomers and the rock-n-roll revolution. But, here’s a thought: What Last.fm and other Net streamers and stores are trying to do is make a buck on downloading countermeasures — in cahoots with the recorded music industry. Maybe it isn’t young radio listeners they’re after. Radio’s already lost them, so the streamers couldn’t care less about radio. They and the record companies just want some trickle of cash from Internet music, from whatever source is handy. Last.fm is now owned by CBS, a big radio owner that’s returned to the record business, too, and they grabbed Last.fm to have a piece of the new pie. Last.fm may dry up and blow away. There’s sure to be other plays, too, so to speak. Take a quick look around Last.fm and you see plenty of apparently young people listening to young music. I hear they have over 15 million users. Is this what’s killing radio? I don’t think so. Jerry’s right. Radio’s drinking its own Kool-Aid. But, let’s not assume we’ve got the final truth about young people and music ownership. Tell them that enough and they’ll change, just to make you a liar.


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What he said, but…

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hertzsketch1
Heinrich Hertz's experiments proved the existence of electromagnetic radiation. Cycles-per-second, the standard measure of radio wave frequency, was named for him. He died in 1894, at 37. Wikipedia: Hertz

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STERN-3
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Wikipedia: Stern

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PALEY-S
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Wikipedia: Paley
zenithfloor

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