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Great write up, Kyle. Your distinction between the needs of 'fanatics' vs. casual listeners is basic, but foundational to the challenge of successfully marketing a music app. These companies need the casual listeners because without their numbers they have no hope of building a successful, profitable service.

I would add that targeting the casual listener is more difficult than simply offering an incremental solution to a problem they aren't aware they have - you also have to somehow make them aware of the problem, and convince them to care enough to adopt your solution.

Despite my love of the music industry I am planted firmly in the casual listener camp. With that said, Pandora and Spotify work just fine for me. Why should I switch? That's the question they need to answer, and they'll likely need to throw some real money and effort behind that answer to make it stick. Pandora and Spotify have enough market share now that incremental solutions like this one may not be enough to really compete.

That's also the double-edged sword of making a service more passive and touting that as a selling point. Yes, that might be what the casual listener wants, but it also creates an inherent barrier to excitement and wide adoption.

Playlist Pros

I am intrigued by this music concierge feature. I will be putting it into practice all weekend and will have a review Monday on my site PlaylistProfessional.com. I am a music fanatic/DJ/music director of 20 years with a boatload of experience in entertaining casual listeners through music. Thank you for your description of what Music Concierge sets out to do. I look forward to presenting the execution of it.

- Mike


Perhaps my tastes are too eclectic, but on the odd occasion that I've used this type of innovation the results have been way, way off.
Then again, if you're into AI and reality covers for the most part, then you probably do need some help.

Greg Golebiewski

If you like to "play WITH music," create playlist and share them with your friends, check out BuyMyPlaylist.com

This service is licensed and available in the US, UK, Germany Italy and Portugal; it has more than 16 Million songs to play with -- just try it!

Brian Hazard

Great read Kyle! I'm always interested to hear how others are listening to music, since I'm about the only one I know who can't multitask (other than driving) while listening. There's no way I could study or even write emails with music in the "background."

Kyle Bylin

Refe: Thank you for your comment. You make a great point about app adoption and it's one I've thought about in the past.

In order for a user to see the value in Shazam, they must first feel the pain of wanting to know what song is playing on the radio. Then they must be educated that a solution to identify that song exists and see the value in installing the app.

Next, they must encounter the problem again, recall that a solution exists, and execute against it. Only after many uses does a user form a habit, connecting the problem with the solution and shifting their view from passivity to activity.

The fanatic fallacy causes startup founders to perceive their problems as being more universal than it actually are. They use their own experience as evidence that a solution should exist. When, in reality, most users can't relate to the products they create.

Kyle Bylin

Brian: You're an interesting study when it comes to a musician and a listener.

One thing I've wondered about is if the availability of music everywhere has made people uncomfortable with silence and it has become a tool to socially isolate and dampen the sound of their own thoughts.

It's just a theory, one I've mused about for awhile now.

Kyle Bylin

I think it's safe to say that you're not Songza's target user. =) Then again, maybe you should program some playlists.

You never know...

Yannick, the GeneralEclectic

Nice to read from you again on here, Kyle. Nevertheless, I prefer creating my own playlists because I enjoy it.

And when once, music used to be almost always around me, in a way like other people would use a fragrance, having gotten busier and busier, I currently find myself creating time windows in my schedule especially for listening purposes and for live playlisting (which is not far from DJing actually).

Again, another guy not in the core audience for Songza, I guess.


I wonder what these new streaming companies are seeing in the market that causes more and more of them to spring up every year? Pandora is the biggest player in the space and their revenue numbers are awful. They just told Wall Street that they don't expect to make a profit until 2013 at the earliest.

I'd love to sit down with the founder of Songza, or Rdio, or any of the others and hear what it is they have up their sleeve (or don't?) to rise above debilitating royalty rates. Charging artists for airtime or promotion? Additional premium options to encourage higher adoption rates? I believe that someone can come up with a solution for profitability in online radio - listeners certainly love the services they use - but I wonder if it will come from any of the current players.

Eric Davich

Hi Refe,

Would be happy to chat. Drop me a line at eric@songza.com and we'll arrange something.



Thanks Eric, I'll take you up on that.

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