Will Apple Finally Kill the Radio Star?

As I was growing up, the only way I could get introduced to new music was listening to a few select stations that I could pick up in our back-woods log cabin.   Aside from one musically enlightened friend who gave me guidance (thanks!), I was at the whims of these stations DJ’s and program managers for the music I was exposed to.

What is the dynamic today? What brings to my attention the hidden gems that would otherwise hide in my thousands of songs? What tells me what new music I could listen to?

Of the several options I have tried I find myself returning to the Genius Playlist Creator and Genius Recommendations on iPod/iTunes. I suspect that many others of the other iPod/iPhone users out there have done the same.

In some ways this is a great thing:

  • The music is tailored to your tastes (the ‘demographic of one’)
  • It fits with your schedule, and not some time slot defined by radio listener demographics
  • Its location independent (well, ok satellite radio offers this too)
  • You don’t have to hear ‘popular’ songs multiple times a day
  • While the radio station was keen to appeal to everyone they risked pleasing nobody
  • As your mood changes, so can your music
  • You can easily try new music and buy

But there are drawbacks:

  • Your music is now controlled by an algorithm; while its amazing, I notice many song show up VERY often (almost like iTunes is trying push certain artists… hmmm)
  • You are only pointed to new music in iTune’s library; it makes me wonder what I’m missing… does iTunes bother with fringe artists?
  • There is always the risk that Apple decides to actually manipulate the results to promote music not based on taste, but who is paying more to be promoted (hey – this sounds familiar)

I’ve tried the new forms of radio: internet-based, satellite radio, even a brief foray back into local radio, but they are all basically the same formula…  I think they have finally lost me to the ‘demographic of one’.


27% of Facebook Users Plan to Buy an Apple Product This Year

I have been very interested in the Facebook polling function to get a feel for market dynamics and public (well Facebook-public) opinion. First comment is that it is getting too damn expensive; every time I go back to do a survey it is more expensive! I suspect this means that it is a successful revenue driver for Facebook. Congrats!

As anyone who reads my blog already knows, I dabble in Apple (AAPL) stock trading [and know that I just lied on my previous post about not posting on Apple for a while -ed]. I wanted to get a feel after the Apple new product launches a week ago how interested people were in their products. I hope to do this same survey again in a while, and perhaps use it to gauge when to buy Apple stock.

Quick summary of what I found:

  • 27% of respondents intend to buy an Apple product within one calendar year
  • 14% plan to buy one by the end of this year
  • Guys are more than 4x more likely to have plans to buy Apple products than girls
  • Within one year, only 21% of men and 36% of women don’t think they will own an Apple product!

Facebook Apple Survey

Now we all know that the demographic of Facebook is skewed towards younger demographics, but hey, where else can I get such cheap market intelligence?? Also with over 40 million users, Facebook user alone could (according to extrapolating this survey) account for about 11 million sales for Apple within one year. If the average unit selling price was $200 (low considering laptops go for thousands of $) that is a couple $Billion right there. Keep in mind, last year Apple made about $22B, so we are talking about a lot of planned expenditures on Apple even just from the small % of the population represented by Facebook users.

Facebook Apple Survey - By Sex

I have some more statistics which show the demographic breakdown by age of the respondents, but I will save my observations on that for a later post.

In summary, I reiterate my ‘strong buy’ on Apple (I will continue to hold my stake), I think they are going to have a very good year indeed.

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