However, not everyone was excited by television's sudden surge of popularity. For years radio had ruled the airwaves with news and entertainment. Personalities like Edward R. Murrow had reported on happenings in the European campaign of WWII via radio broadcast, and it had become THE source of information for families in the U.S. Television had changed all of that, and radio broadcasters were scrambling to find their place. No longer could they rely on dramas, variety shows, and quiz games to support themselves. What they were left with was hard news and music, and more specifically Rock music. The latter would prove to be radio's salvation.
Stations around the country began playing rock music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and people were listening. Folks like Allen Freed (of Cleveland, OH) became a household name. The rest of radio would follow suit, becoming "format based" or playing a certain genre of music all day. This practice continues to this very day. Radio had survived by adapting to the changing broadcast climate.
Similarly, the recording industry will need to adapt if it ever hopes to be financially successful.
In an open letter to the recording industry's big 4 companies (Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Group, Warner Music Group) Apple Inc.'s CEO, Steve Jobs urged an abandoning of DRM protection schemes across the board. Unfortunately the RIAA (representing the big 4) fired a response that was almost non-sequitur in nature. They urged Jobs to license FairPlay (Apple's exclusive DRM) to third parties. The whole point was that DRM is broken and only punishes paying customers (read HURTS SALES!).
When will the recording industry get it? DRM doesn't work, and people will spend, and have spent their money elsewhere in order to have DRM free music online. What's worse it that others won't spend any money at all to have DRM free music. The fact is that DRM stomps all over the fair use rights of the American citizen. As Jobs pointed out, DRM is nothing but a hindrance to online music sales. When it comes to DRM, the audience isn't listening.
Even more disturbing than the crippling of music with DRM is the recording industry's absolute bull-headedness in relation to changing business models. Let's take a look at television again for a minute.
When was the last time you paid for content on your television? I don't mean premium services, I mean the network content itself. You don't. Television has been ad-driven for years, and last time I checked, the actors, directors, writers, were all being paid handsomely for their work.
The answer the recording industry is looking for is contained in the television network business model. They need to adapt to become an advertisement driven industry. The public is demanding reasonably priced, open content. Hence ad based revenue would be an ideal way to offset cost, or even profit in the current musical market.
What would this look like? Maybe a website where you can download a certain number of tracks a day after looking through some advertisements? Maybe sponsorships like we see in motorsports? The possibilities are endless, IF the recording industry opens its eyes, and realizes the world has moved on without it. Jobs is 100% accurate in his opinion of the music industry, and maybe, just maybe with his corporate clout, he can make something happen.