The Future of Sound


The majority of vehicles sold in North America now come with the option of satellite radio.  Vehicle purchasers can receive a free trial run of SiriusXM Radio for a limited duration.  At the end of the temporary subscription, they are offered some sort of deal courtesy of the car dealership to keep the service going.  SiriusXM initially started out as two different options for customers.  A merger of Sirius and XM became necessary in an attempt to bring profitability to this medium.  It has made some significantly smart decisions since its’ inception.  Notably its’ signing of legendary “shock-jock” Howard Stern.  The radio industry’s most gifted performer has spent over ten years bringing his brand of entertainment to millions of subscribers.  With the variety of content SiriusXM radio has to offer, it remains a strong option for entertainment.  Many have it at home, access it through their computers and on their smart phones through a well-designed user-friendly app.  SiriusXM really does a great job of providing good choice to listeners.  It is still miles away from the tired repetitive run of music on terrestrial radio stations.  Satellite radio is not subject to the same kinds of regulations that have hindered creativity and variety on terrestrial radio since its’ existence began.

There appears to be a shifting dynamic in how music is heard.  With Google’s acquisition of the popular music platform Songza, Google Play offers users a music platform of appealingly endless varieties.  Beyond the available sub-genres are individualized channels.  There we can listen to radio stations that are identified by a main-focused artist, with music from similar artists.  More people are turning to that kind of choice for their music.  Google Play can be accessed for free.  A subscription provides members with less advertising and access to over 35 million music tracks.  Those tracks can be made available for offline listening.  This kind of accessibility is absolutely unprecedented.  This is an option that more consumers may be leaning towards as they look to getting more value for their money.

Podcasting is rapidly becoming a more popular medium for entertainment and information.  It has opened up opportunities for people from across the world to express their views to audiences.  A search of available podcasts on Apple’s ITunes store reveals that there are multiple podcasts for almost every subject.  You could spend an entire day looking up podcasts to listen to and building a subscription list.  Many entertainers have taken to podcasting as a way to rejuvenate their own careers and bring their brands to new audiences.  I believe that once Howard Stern retires from the air at SiriusXM, he might move over to podcasting so he could do an occasional show in order to keep contact with his devoted audience.

Through the use of Bluetooth technology, a person can already listen to podcasts and Google Play in their vehicles.  Consumers are becoming more aware and rightfully demanding of receiving content they want.  Vehicle manufacturers may soon need to start building Google Play or iTunes accessibility right into the dashboards of their products.  They could eventually move away from satellite radio as a default.  Terrestrial radio will still exist.  It is not going anywhere anytime soon.  It will continue to be the free offering of music, news and entertainment to the communities it serves.  Advertising on terrestrial radio will still contribute to profitability of radio stations and bring in customers to advertisers.  It will still be home to great on-air talent who often work long hours to deliver content. I have difficulty with any suggestion that Canada could exist without its’ national broadcaster the CBC. It does provide some much-needed relief from the sometimes mundane melancholic tendencies of some regular radio stations.

As consumer demand for sound entertainment evolves, industry will continue to face pressure to respond quicker and foreshadow the possibilities of what could come next.



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