Monday, October 3, 2016

Spotify Exec: Radio Is 'Not Relevant'

Austin Kramer
Is music-streaming the new radio? At least one Spotify executive has escalated the idea to declare radio’s obituary, according to

“Radio is of the past – it’s not relevant,” said Austin Kramer, the global head of dance & electronic music at Spotify, during a panel on playlists at Paris Electronic Week. “We are getting information [on tracks] 24 hours after their placement [on playlists]. Radio can’t do that.”

The former SiriusXM staffer added: “Being from radio, it’s sad to say, but that’s really the truth of it. There are certain companies in the US like CBS that say they do look at Spotify. I think it’s just a matter of time before radio either adopts that philosophy and admit they are looking at things like Shazam and Spotify, or they die.”

Emmanuelle de Hosson
Speaking on the same panel was Emmanuelle de Hosson, digital account manager at Warner Music France. She said that not only is radio being trumped by streaming on a label promotion level, but that the shift towards streaming in France could undermine the quota system that has previously defined French radio (whereby a defined percentage of tracks played have to be by French acts and another percentage sung in French).

“It is really changing at the moment because before you really had to have a single playing on NRJ [the country’s major top 40 station], for example, to have a hit,” she said of the French market which has recently added streaming data to the charts for the first time. “That’s still true, but not entirely. Now we have playlists, we have more space to expose our tracks. On radio, they cannot play all your catalogue.”

She continued, “It’s really a new way to work on promo because sometimes, and it has happened this year for Warner, you can have a track that is not played by radio but you can have success on streaming. So now you can take that [evidence] to push it on radio. That is really a new way to work with promo – as it works contrary to how we did before. Radio in France has to push the local repertoire, but in streaming you see you have more and more international [repertoire]; so that changes how we work catalogue, too.”

Beyond the central point about streaming’s growing importance and, perhaps, radio’s shrinking importance in some respects, both Kramer and de Hosson expanded on how playlisting strategies are being used to build audiences and introduce new acts.

Kramer said that new acts believe this is their fast track to success and he has to disabuse them on this notion, suggesting that a slow, but steady, build is the only way to go.

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