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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Trade Secrets 

Spent an hour listening to Trade Secrets Radio. This is a mp3 (and more?) radio show by Dave Winer and Adam Curry. Here's my take on it all.

Many new concepts need to reach critical mass before they work. Email lists are an example. Without enough subscribers there is no discussion. I think the same is happening with these type of "digital audio shows." With Trade Secrets and Gillmor Gang and others, there are now enough nerdy content to make a serious nerdy (early adapter) market. Other markets will follow. New markets will be discovered. I have no doubt there is a market for audio.

My next observation is that for all the hype about digital radio since my stint at the FCC (74-78), it is misnamed. This really is digital radio. Consumers can manipulate the content. Basically you can pick and choose your programs (shows, mp3s, whatever they'll eventually be called) and string them together with your digital playback unit (iPod, Treo, PPC, etc.). These digital shows obsolesces non-talk, broadcast radio.

However, a usability/marketing problem. I've already commented about the uneven volume of this audio which is probably an easy fix. But there is another problem. Blogs are the premier example of microcontent. Users want to pick and choose. MP3 generally is one big chunk. In this case an hour plus. So the next step is to pick and choose the segments you want, stream them together like you want, listen when you want. For me it was at the breakfast table this morning while glancing at washingtonpost.com, then I finished listening with my laptop on the Metro (subway) after work. Anyway, it will get there and I'll keep listening. 

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