The beginning of the end of “one-to-many”

From Inside Radio:

TiVo … is teaming with digital music service Rhapsody to deliver thousands of Internet radio stations and four million songs through any broadband-connected TiVo box. The feature will allow users to search for music directly from their TV where they’ll be able to browse charts of Rhapsody’s most popular artists, find weekly lists of new releases, or listen to thousands of radio stations. Current TiVo subscribers will get a free 30-day trial of Rhapsody. They then can opt to pay $12.99 a month to keep the service.

This is cool, but way overpriced.

Besides the fact that every household already owns a few radios and has access to their favorite music, virtually all cable systems feature free music channels of their own (some of which are in league with satellite radio).

Of course, this service is a significant value-add compared to those – but only for those who value the value-add. Further, I’m guessing most consumers who want that much extra value are already getting it from their PCs and their iPods.

As we in radio well know, most of the listening to audio entertainment isn’t home-bound. Nor does it necessarily occur in the proximity of the television.

What this development suggests, however, is something potentially profound: The the price point of satellite radio can and should be associated with experiences which are personal and customizable and social and go well beyond so-called “premium” content and a couple hundred channels of niche music choice.

Satellite and terrestrial radio alike were designed as one-way, one-to-many experiences.

This had better change.

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