One of the most influential inventions of the twentieth century was the development of radio technology for home and personal use. For the first time in history people could have wireless transmissions of news reports, entertainment shows, music specials and other programs streaming live into their homes. Radio has become a mainstay of households and cars since its initial inauguration, but the technology has changed so much since then.
While traditional AM and FM radio stations are still very much a common thing in the everyday lives of most people, with the introduction of the internet, so too came the introduction of internet radio. AM and FM stations provide a nice variety of different station genres and show types, but there is only so many stations that can be provided to the people, and the airwaves only extend so far away from their source. Traditional radio is still often many peoples choice for a source of entertainment in cars, myself included. Just press the button for whatever station you want, or scan the airwaves to see if something sounds good. Its extremely simple, and that’s why many people like it so much.
The problem for the traditional format is that where it used to do so well, it has now been taken over by the new age of internet radio. People love being able to make choices and listen to exactly what kind of music their in the mood for. At home listening is dominated by the internet radio market at this point, and its easy to see why. For every FM station available in someone’s area, there are probably two or three or ten times more internet outlets available for listening. And with internet radio, you get to choose the exact type of music you want to listen to. With Pandora, you can make playlists based off songs, artists, albums, or genres. On Spotify, you can listen to entire discographies of thousands of bands. And instead of being bombarded with seven or eight straight minutes of advertisements, on both of these platforms you listen to one or two 30 second commercials and then carry on with the next four or five songs. Songs may even be skipped if they don’t satisfy your ears. The one real weakness of internet radio is that while it is free, often providers withhold a lot of their features unless you pay a monthly subscription fee. Spotify doesn’t allow its users to take advantage of the mobile app unless users pay around 10 bucks a month, meaning free users can only take advantage of this with a computer.
While the subscriptions are a cheap way for the providers to steal some of the consumers money, internet radio has helped blast radio back into the spotlight, and helped it transition into the new age of technology we currently find ourselves in. The advancements have made it extremely easy for any listener to listen to their favorites while exploring new music all in the same. As much as I love the traditional AM/FM platform, I don’t think ill be giving up internet radio any time soon.