Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Radio, Television, and YouTube

I have informally extended a project about Croatian internet radio in which I was invited to participate by Nenad Bach and which we talked about on the last post. There is a lot of information floating around which suggests that many people are moving away from traditional radio / television to the internet. Google's whole business model is based on the notion that this move has already been underway and is substantial.
Over the years, I've had a few modest experiences with broadcasting on radio/television in Southern Illinois, Central Tennessee and in South Texas.  In each case the population within the reception area amounted to about three million and the stations presumed from their studies that the audience might be around 300,000.  The fact is that for any particular broadcast we didn't know how many listened.  We knew that some people tuned in because they wrote letters.

It is difficult to compare "traditional" transmissions to internet transmissions where we can have hard data. On YouTube for example - we know how many times a video was clicked and we know in the aggregate how many minutes people stayed on that video.  The algorithm which YouTube currently uses to "rank" a particular video takes into account "engagement" which includes "comments","like / dislike", and now its important to somehow keep the viewer on the video all the way through.
On YouTube we do not actually know where someone is located.  We know only where they say they are located so I did not take location into account.  My specifications were simple:  channels which broadcast a fair amount of music by Croatian performers were included.  In this group were channels operated by what appear to be Croatians in the same five continents where we found internet radio, as well as Slovenia and Serbia.  A few I know to be operating from France, Germany, and Sweden.
A few channels have dropped out in the last few years.  A few more have been hit with DCMA complaints and have been dropped from YouTube.  If memory serves, those may have amounted to as many as forty million views between them.  I did not take into consideration channels with under a hundred thousand views. 
Among the remaining top seventy Croatian/Croatian friendly channels the views amount to about 300,000,000 since 2006.  I've informally kept up with the top 20 or so channels for several years and I'm aware that the vast majority of those views have come in the last twenty-four to thirty months. 
This sounds impressive until you realize one Korean fellow made one video with one song which has gone over a billion views.  If you discount that one as a fluke it still sounds impressive until you look around just a little.  As a "group" we've accomplished a lot but we have a long long way to go.
There was a time when all one needed was a killer song to get a lot of views.  That's still important, but now it works best with a video which keeps the viewer "engaged" throughout the song.  It is no longer sufficient just to have a lot of music on a channel and it is no longer sufficient to have a wonderful piece of music and a killer video although all that is important. Now it requires that the broadcaster continually "engage" the audience and it requires that we find ways to find and engage our potential audience.  It also requires that we engage the performers and that we engage the companies which distribute the music.
Can I tell you how to do any of this?  No I can't.  I am still learning, but there is plenty of help.  Lisa Irby  has information on YouTube for us.   You will have to follow your nose among her extensive information and you will have to adapt it to suit your style but her information is solid and a good place to start. Lisa  also has a blog with a world of information on it for us.  This isn't about promoting Lisa, this is about learning how to promote us and our performers.  YouTube  provides us some help also. 
We have to out perform radio.  We have to out perform Television.  We may have to use FaceBook, Twitter, blogging of some sort, or whatever is available to us.  Oh yes, we might even have to somehow use some radio and television along the way. We have to use every legitimate means at our disposal to accomplish this task. 
We are broadcasters. We are DJ's at the party. We have a product to sell.  That product is the music of our beloved Homeland and her singers where ever they are in the world.  Its our job to sell this product and not the job of the performers and it is not the job of the Record Houses.  The performers task is to compose and perform.  The record companies job is to make the records and count the sales. We are the sales people.
We are closer to the people, we are closer to the market than anyone else could ever hope to be at this time.  If we want to keep our jobs and continue to have access to the product, then we must succeed at our task.  We must  engage as many Croatians in Croatia and in the diaspora as we can.  We must engage other people as well. The Japanese already know "U boj, U boj," so we have a good start on this project. 
Along the way we must discover and help our performers know how to make a little money on the work we do to promote their efforts.  The record houses must see an upswing in sales.  We must put the music out there so people of  all kinds want to hear it and want to buy it.  That's the task.
Yes, we are competitors but we also have a common goal - our Homeland, our culture.   We can either play around with this or we can get after it and have a great time doing it. Are you ready?
Za Dom, Spremni!!
do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
14 svibanj 2013

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