For some time now we have envisioned the the future of "radio" as thousands of niche stations programmed by creative and knowledgeable music lovers streamed to homes and offices via broadband and portably to cell phone based devices. An in recent weeks there have been a flurry of announcements and partnerships from cell phone makers and providers as well as a variety of tech companies that all point in this same direction.
Now comes Germany's MotorFM which appears to be the the first real word example of how these various emerging technology can transform broadcasting. According to Wired.com, "MotorFM is determined to transform radio in Germany, and it thinks it has the tools to do it: MP3 downloads and songs streamed directly to mobile phones. "
"The first step has seen MotorFM, launched Feb. 1, abandon on-air commercials in favor of generating revenue from MP3 downloads and targeted sponsoring of its programming. The next step will be streaming audio directly to 3G cell phones and letting listeners pay for downloads by SMS text message. "
"...Focusing on hip alternative rock and electronic music, the station was founded by three former music executives who profess a real love and knowledge of music: Tim Renner and Markus Kuehn both worked in senior positions at Universal Music, and Mona Rübenstein founded MTV Germany."
"We left because Universal and MTV don't support any good music anymore. They're boring," said Kuehn, who was marketing manager of Universal's German division."
"In the short term, we don't think that the downloads will be able to finance the station -- maybe in two or three years -- but that's why we have sponsors," said Kuehn. "However, there are some interesting technological developments coming on stream. Listeners will be able to get downloads of music direct to their cell phones or get an audio stream on the phone at the touch of a button."
"Media analyst Tim Crook at the University of London said MotorFM's proposal is "an interesting and alternative way to fund radio broadcasting -- the internet streaming could fund the analog music output, but this is only feasible if the music with an anticipated demand is only available on a pay-to-listen basis."
"Ultimately the station will become an advertisement in its own right: If listeners hear a song they want to buy, they simply send an SMS text message from their phone and the song will be downloaded, either to an account on the MotorFM website or to the cell phone itself."
Read the full Wired.com article here.