I don’t have much comment on the recent announcement that CBS will be linking up with AOL to distribute and monetize their mutual audio streams. And that’s because it’s such a plainly good strategy that no additional commentary is required:
The [new] player will allow users to switch between stations, view song titles, album information and link to websites featuring the current artist being streamed, use presets to mark favorite stations, rate and share songs, purchase individual songs, albums and concert tickets, and to access other functions.
Formerly, of course, AOL was tied in with XM Satellite Radio, which used AOL to demonstrate some of its commercial-free channels. Where the line was between “demonstrating” and “fulfilling all my needs without me needing to subscribe” is up for debate, however.
Contrary to what you’re reading in the silly trades, this is not a “lose” for XM since a “lose” presumes that XM’s deal with AOL was beneficial to them, and I doubt this was.
Still, however, the only way to now hear XM content online is to subscribe to it and pay for it (after the free trial).
You would think somebody in satellite radio would consider the possibility that the Internet is more than a launching pad for a subscription service. That perhaps – just maybe – there’s money to be made from the satellite radio brands that isn’t sourced from the pockets of consumers with abundant free options and iPods that work just fine.
You’d think they would consider that, but so far they have not. Their obsession with selling hardware and subscriptions is easily their biggest mistake.
Free streaming radio plus commercials and other monetizing empowerments for the consumer versus commercial-free music that costs…
Advantage: CBS and AOL.