Best Music Still Free!

    July 6, 2005

A new study just released from IDC says that while things like satellite radio and music downloads are growing in usage, old-fashioned formats like FM radio and CDs still rule the roost.

“Our survey shows that incumbent technologies, such as CD and FM radio, are still favored, while ownership of, awareness of, and intention to purchase MP3 players, satellite radio, music via legitimate online music services, among other devices and technologies, is on the rise.”

In many ways, this is a no-brainer. FM radio and really AM radio too, in this writer’s opinion, offer a ton of advantages over satellite radio, although those are becoming less so as radio ownership becomes more concentrated.

Probably the biggest deal would be the cost issue. As long as people can get music for free, satellite will always be playing second fiddle. Public radio asks for donations periodically but many who listen to NPR contribute to it. The commercials don’t bother me that much. I’m not saying it’s perfect but that free option goes a long way.

Next is proximity. I’ve had satellite television for years and the biggest beef I always had was lack of local networks. My locale didn’t allow for local programming for several years and the traditional antenna method didn’t really pick up what we wanted locally. As soon as they announced the local channels, I added them. If satellite added local stations, I might consider it.

Local radio offers a lot over satellite. I spend an average of 15 hours or so a week in my car so I listen to a fair amount of radio and while I don’t mind the all Elvis channel on Sirius, I like hearing local traffic reports better. I like keeping up with what’s happening my state and local government and my local weather. You can get those features if you live in one of their listed areas, but I don’t get the a guy reporting in every fifteen minutes from an airplane over the main arteries of Lexington, Kentucky. That local touch, which is almost always more personal, makes all the difference in the world.

IDC’s findings said about 6% of those surveyed had satellite radio and 12% would be switching to it sometime in the next year. I’ve got satellite radio through my satellite TV service and it’s ok. I like some of the channels fairly well. But the advantages I get from Stu Johnson on WEKU or rocking on WKQQ come out way ahead. I can find out about the cheap wings specials at Hooters or I can listen to the tornado warnings from these stations when my satellite service goes out. Nothing against satellite, but regular radio has some definite advantages.

Ya know though… if they could come up with King Julien’s Move It Move It network I might just switch.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.