Interactive Radio Replaces the UK “Bird Station”

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birdAs some of you may know from perusing the news or being rabid anglophiles, there is a DAB Station in the UK that has been running a 24-hour loop of recorded birds for close to a year now. The stated reason was that they needed to keep the transmitters active.

As of the beginning of June, the bird songs are gone, replaced with the sound of unsigned bands. Now, as of last Thursday, that audio loop is being upgraded to a very interesting, socially-based approach. It’s similar in some ways to the launch of Jelli on the radio here in the US that I wrote about recently.

Welcome to Amazing Radio! Julie Mollins at Reuters managed to get a word with the founder about their approach:

“It’s interactive and user-generated radio,” founder Paul Campbell, a musician and former BBC producer, told Reuters.

The musical selection is sourced by algorithms drawing from MP3 uploads on Amazing Radio’s sister platform — the Amazing Tunes website.

Amazingtunes.com, launched in 2006, contains about 15,000 tracks uploaded by musicians who get 70 percent of sales revenues. The site has 35 million users, according to Campbell.

As we watch the RIAA pushing for performance fees which they will keep half of, it is refreshing to see efforts like this. Right on the front page of their website you see three pieces of text immediately: Ethical For The Artists, Controlled By Fans, and On Air And Online. A 70% cut of the revenue going to the artists is amazing, and I believe fits well with the way that cyberculture is influencing the business model.

Still, it is the “user controlled” aspect of this that I find interesting. Crowdsourcing a playlist is a very innovative approach to programming, they question of effectiveness and profitability have yet to be answered though.

Photo courtesy of Vibragiel, used under its Creative Commons license

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2 Responses to “Interactive Radio Replaces the UK “Bird Station””

  1. Paul Campbell Says:

    Many thanks for your well-informed and interesting blog about Amazing Radio, of which I’m the founder.
    We’ve been on the air for a little over a month now, gradually increasing the range and variety of the output, and I’ve been blown away by the response. I’ve worked in media for almost 30 years (I used to be a BBC Producer), but I’ve never known anything like this. Take a look at thew feedback on http://amazingradio.co.uk/feedback , or the review in the London Sunday Times which is linked to from that page. It looks as if we’ve hit a nerve, which I think is very much about the new model/ethical/democratic points you identify in your piece. You’re also right about profitability remaining to be seen! – it all depends on how many people buy the music, which is on sale at amazingtunes.com. Time will tell.
    I’d be grateful for further comment and criticism from everyone, as we very much want Amazing Radio to develop ‘before your very ears’, with everything decided and controlled by the listeners.
    Best wishes, Paul Campbell, amazing founder

  2. George Williams Says:

    Hey Paul! Thanks for stopping by to join the discussion. I’ll be dropping you an email son about doing an interview with us here on Radio2020 in the near future if you can make the time.

    I think this approach is fascinating, it is truly an example of the evolution radio is going through as we see real time communication and social relevancy become the driving factors modeled on the current social media climate.

    Have great day!

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