The Tipping Point for Internet Radio

This past weekend I went to Radioshack and paid 6.99 for a cord that connects my iphone to an auxillary stereo jack in my car – and then I listened to Internet radio stations on my car stereo everywhere I went. It could not have been easier – with my iPhone I already iphonehave unlimited usage, so I just opened the apps I had already downloaded and started streaming through my stereo.

comScore just released a report called “The comScore 2008 Digital Year in Review”. One of the key points made in the report is that 2008 was the year of the smartphone. Smartphones became part of popular culture in 2008 rather than an executive tool. The price of a smartphone dropped and mobile content consumption took off. From November 07 to November 08, wireless broadband (3G) use increased 43%.

I’m pinpointing 2008 as the tipping point for Internet radio. In his book “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell looked at how and why some products gain popularity faster and more than others. He defines the “tipping point” as the threshold or boiling point. When iPhone and AT&T got together and got serious about selling iphones with unlimited data plans, and Pandora and other services started developing free apps that easily stream their stations, Internet radio became a mobile medium with mass appeal.

The comScore report projects that this mobile usage will “continue to soar, making the mobile channel a more viable opportunity for advertisers and marketers” in 2009. This should translate into meaningful audience growth and revenue opportunities for Internet radio.

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