I’m off to Montreal tomorrow for SCMS 2015 and excited to be on a panel about podcasting (it has been a big year for the podcast after all). We’re scheduled early this year on Wednesday (tomorrow) at 4pm. Below is my paper title and abstract. Looking forward to being back in Montreal and to hear what everyone has been up to research-wise over the last little while!
Blog Radio: Satellite Radio and the Aesthetics of Podcasting
Sirius XM U’s daily Blog Radio show is a rich site for exploring the influence of podcasting on satellite radio programming, as well as the relationship between online and offline radio. Blog Radio airs during the afternoon 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. timeslot and Sirius XM U describes the show as where “The web’s most influential music bloggers keep you ahead of the curve with two hours of handpicked music every day.” Blogs including Gorilla Vs. Bear and Brooklyn Vegan host prerecorded shows that also co-exist as podcasts or playlists to be posted on the blog and shared by social media profiles. Although the North American satellite radio service, SiriusXM, has been aligned with streaming models of music distribution (see below), Blog Radio highlights the presence of the aesthetics of podcasting within satellite radio programming. Blog Radio is a significant component of SiriusXM’s efforts to occupy online spaces, such as taste-making music blogs, and it enables the SiriusXM brand to be archived and shared. Further, Blog Radio demonstrates the ways in which radio in the digital age is shaped by podcasting, especially as radio becomes increasingly visual and mobile.
SiriusXM has recently amplified its online presence by providing subscribers with added methods for personalizing and customizing their listening experience. “All Access” plans include both “broadcast” and internet access and subscribers with less inclusive (and cheaper) plans can activate online access for an added $4 per month. Listeners can hear online-only channels such as Classic College Radio and customize musical selections by using the MySXM feature, which enables one to control a slider that will play more or less of a certain sound or style. SiriusXM has grown to 25 million subscribers in North America, “far more than Spotify’s 3 million subscriptions in the U.S.” (Palermino 2014). Billboard magazine cites SiriusXM’s business model as a proven success for independent musicians and as integral to the growth of the streaming music industry (Palermino 2014). SiriusXM’s combination of online and offline content raises new questions about the role and definition of radio in the digital age and about online and offline listening practices.