The story of two Internet Radio streaming services

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Internet radio… I don’t even know if that’s truly the proper title to use for this. It’s audio streaming of music and perhaps there is advertising but it’s not like traditional radio. Certainly not when you take in the aspect that computers and choices (by the listener and the software programming) are in control of the broadcasting and what’s airing and such. Oh, that is still a truth in traditional radio airplay, but disc jockeys and local advertising isn’t as ardent a factor.  No, you’re the disc jockey ultimately and advertising is a different beast online. But I digress, this isn’t about ads.

I’ve been using Pandora casually for a few years. I know its power and influence… So it was a chance I took trying to help prop up the local garage rock/pop band that I’ve been helping out since summer of this year, the Pretty Voices.  As someone who has worked in the distant, distant past for search engine submissions when they were a slower process, I thought the challenge of Pandora was a throwback.  It was also intimidating.

Pandora has standards and a large audience.  They’re not going to just take random submissions / they’re going to have standards that need to be reached and exceeded, applying to both the music and the actual submission form process. My first effort to get the band on the services proved quality mattered. The submission song (Scenius Genius, a rocker with foul language) and submission form came up short in the eyes of Pandora. Disappointing? Sure, but not a total surprise.  It had taken a full week of review on their part and that could have been inspired by internal debate to go along with competition from other potential artists submitting new content to the network, but it still came up short.  Close, though. Much closer than I realized.

It took me a second submission only a few days later, using another song as an example (Crackle Pop) and an elaboration on the form regarding the band itself and details on the song example used in the submission to get the accepted status. Yes, Pandora accepted the Pretty Voices and that was three days after that second submission!  The album, Jangular, by the band went live on Pandora on October 4th and you can find it here. Quite the accomplishment for the group and a feat for the submitter!

This process seems a hell of a lot more complex-yet-involved than the one utilized by Jango and its formal audio administration area, Radio Airplay.

Simple enough, Radio Airplay lets musicians upload music to the network, but you have to have a paying membership; a monthly fee. While that comes off like an immediate downside the fact that it airs audio to international locations (Canada, Europe, the Russian Federation, Asia, etc) makes up for it. Limits on exposure do exist though; if you’re not paying the top level monthly fees, you only have so many credits per month to expose listeners to your music, and top ranked songs earn more credits from the network. This is another flaw of the system, but not such a big flaw as its weekly “top songs” list.

In concept, it’s a simple standard that’s known in the music industry: The song that was most well liked in major musical genres such as rock, metal, alternative, country, pop, dance, rhythm and blues (R&B), etc. All the songs get ranked by the listeners on Jango and it reflects music popularity… You can’t go wrong with having a top-ranked song list, can you?

In this case, yes…. Yes you can.

I’m not sure if it’s just the change of the music world or what, but I’m pretty sure there’s something going on when an instrumental, mid-tempo song is ranked top “Rock” song for a week, especially when it lacks guitar music.  Case in point: Week 39 on Radio Airplay had an instrumental named Martha’s Vinyard as the top ranked “Rock” song.

You cannot tell me that’s rock. And my venting here isn’t just over the fact this is a mislabeled genre but also the fact this guy routinely gets ranked tops for his instrumentals in rock or pop. That and the weekly top list isn’t top songs by genre as-so-much singular songs that are weekly best per genre. Here’s the top list for Week 39 (where Martha’s Vinyard was ranked top Rocker)..

Weekly with these top ranked songs, you’ll find genre defying music as the top ranked numbers from Jango/Radio Airplay. It gets ridiculous. Fan reaction to music is one thing, wrongly categorization is another, but mismanagement from the host company to the point it allows this to go on and on and on tops it all.

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Filed under Entertainment Industry Thingies, interweb, Music / Lyrics

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