I read an interesting article at MinOnline, an online publication dedicated to magazines, which declares Internet radio to be the “Next Big Thing” that arrived with little notice alongside social networking and video sites. The article says that streaming audio invites a range of publisher partnerships such as channels branded to a particular publication or editorial selection. Sharing audio content online is a popular social activity on sites like Facebook and MySpace, why not add an audio channel as a soundtrack to enhance a publication’s brand and appeal. It’s a web trend that publishers should not “take lightly”.
Creating online channels to suit consumer tastes and enhance a brand’s identity is a great idea. It’s a natural for publications – Paste Magazine, an independant music publication, has had a branded channel available for several years, and the New York Times website features classical music station WQXR (conveniently also owned by the Times).
Internet radio station AccuRadio has been producing audio channels for branded content use for several years for consumer products as varied as Silk Vodka and Puerto Rico Tourism. “It’s a very appealing product to advertisers and agencies because it’s an immersive branding experience,” says owner Kurt Hanson. “Last year we launched Slipstream Radio which is dedicated to creating and selling these branded channels.” Ideas for these types of relationships are endless – my personal favorite is a coffee channel featuring 400 songs (we checked) about coffee and branded for Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, or Folgers.
Whether it’s a cross promotion relationship between an online station and a publication, or a branded channel provided to an advertiser, online audio content is a hot commodity.