Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Pandora's New Box: The Future of Music Radio Lies Online, Once There's a Way to Pay Artists Fairly, Writes Becky Hogge

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Pandora's New Box: The Future of Music Radio Lies Online, Once There's a Way to Pay Artists Fairly, Writes Becky Hogge

Article excerpt

My favourite Christmas present last year was a pink leather radio, DAB-enabled, to replace my old (and broken) analogue one. The reason I love it so much has little to do with the extra radio stations it lets me tune in to. Yes, it's fun to listen to the World Service all day, and my growing endearment with 6 Music and Chill FM at least reassures me it's time I turned 30. But I love my new radio, I'm ashamed to say, because it's pink.

When I think about the future of radio, I don't think about DAB. Personalised internet radio is far more exciting. If you've never experienced it before, imagine this: you go to a website, and punch in the names of a few of your favourite musicians. Then, based on an "if you like that you'll love this" technology, it plays you what it thinks you want to hear. You can train it, either by rating the songs it plays you, or by introducing it to your MP3 collection. The result is unadulterated audio pleasure, without a Smashie or Nicey in sight.

Those to whom this sounds too good to be true will not be surprised that personalised internet radio has recently found itself in legal hot water. On 15 January, Pandora, a US-based personalised internet radio station, closed down its service to UK customers, having been unable to negotiate how to pay musicians a proportion of its profits.

In the analogue world, organisations called collecting societies seek royalties on behalf of the artists whose music is played on air, and distribute it accordingly. …

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