Stupid Music Media Tricks

You've heard of David Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks. Somehow all the smart executives in music media manage to do things that are, well, not very productive for them. With that in mind, try these Stupid Media Tricks on for size:
  • Throwing radio listeners a bone by saying that HD radio will bring digital audio to terrestrial radio stations when what the industry really wanted was more channels. Unfortunately listeners don't.
  • Radio owners dragging their feet on implementing the People Meter seemingly never running out of excuses for sticking with a paper diary system in a digital world. At this moment Clear Channel, the largest radio group, should be leading the charge. Instead it is acting as the biggest impediment. Who needs enemies when the radio industry has Clear Channel and other groups not only shooting themselves in the foot but setting their entire industry back.
  • Suing your customers -- as in RIAA -- with the full blessing of the major record labels. Has anyone noted that their legal strategy isn't working? Illegal downloading of music (and video, by the way) is still rampant. But legal downloads are up and could be even higher if digital rights management can be relaxed or eliminated.
  • Playing the same formats over and over again. It used to be that radio stations played the same music constantly while insulting their audiences with slogans like "fewer commercials, more music, and the best variety". Now, the radio industry is doing the same thing by not inventing new formats. They are doing the same tried and true formats market after market. Fewer formats, a lot of commercials and less variety. Don't make that a slogan! Consolidation is killing the radio star.
  • Utilities such as mobile phone companies getting into the content business. This is like Public Service Gas & Electric producing content for your cell phone. The mobile companies see money -- like in added monthly fees -- for content so they want to be in that business, too. Perhaps they should bring the level of cell phone service and coverage up to the higher standards that are already available in Asia. Radio companies should be in the mobile content business.
  • TV networks for betting the ranch on YouTube and short video clips. Yes, it's a good promotional tool this minute, but the jury is way out as to whether the Internet is the next cable or satellite delivery system. TV networks, produce better programs! That's where you can make more money.
  • MySpace for entertaining the idea that the next generation will sit idly by and support its blatant attempt to monetize the social network it bought for upwards of $600 million. The next generation loves networking and hates commercialization. I'm not trying to spoil the party but there's trouble ahead.
  • Cutting the size of The Wall Street Journal and next year The New York Times down in size to save money on newsprint. Folly for The Journal which estimates its annual savings at $16 million. The reason many papers cite for slicing their newspapers down is that young readers want to read a smaller paper easier to hold. Repeat after me, "younger readers don't want to read your newspapers because they get their news and information online". Spend your money there.