Google Debuts New Release Radio, Catalyst To Change Media Pricing Model

Radio is continuing a transformation that will put the medium back in vogue. A move toward streaming radio on smartphones will likely make preferences, location-based data, and near-by triggers the next targeting options for audio ads.

Since it's no longer enough to stream radio on demand, Google Play Music on Friday rolled out New Release Radio. It serves new music culled from the user's personal tastes and preferences. The station uses machine learning to select releases from the past two weeks, based on listening history and musical preferences. 

Google only serves ads on the free service, not on the paid subscription service.

NextRadio president Paul Brenner viewed the Google New Release Radio feature while in beta. He agrees it's a natural progression to use location-based targeting options and preferences to support advertisers.

He said location-based targeting, at least per ZIP code and near-by points of interest, will increase the value of the ad inventory.

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"Radio will need to reinvent itself," he said. "That's what the buying community expects."

As radio moves to personalization and people-based advertising in Google's world, the industry supporting radio ads will need to develop a new pricing model. Perhaps something similar to a cost per click, cost per action, or cost per thousands model as songs or audio ads get tagged on smartphones.   

Even for mass-market radio, the media-buying cost structure will alter.

The value of the inventory during a moment in time will dictate change. The huge amount of data now available will let advertisers pinpoint the audience they want to reach, even in mass-market radio, he said.

"Call it paid search if you want, because you're searching for an audience," he said. "It's just that you can apply it to a mass-market media," he said.

Google managed to gain input through a Samsung partnership announced in July that made Google Music the default music player and music service on Samsung phones and tablets globally. The service launched on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

The New Release Radio station, featuring country artists like Darius Rucker and Blake Shelton, as well as Coldplay, is available free to radio listeners and subscribers globally. Google said it will continually update the platform with the latest new releases.

 

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