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Virgin Radio, Radio Netherlands, CFUV, RadioValve, Pulse Radio, VSF, Kothmale

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Last updated 10 February 2003

Chapter 2


Radio's relationship with the music industry


Both MusicNet and pressplay subscription online music services came online towards the end of 2001. MusicNet ( is a joint venture between AOL and RealNetworks (with access to music from the BMG, Warner and EMI back catalogues ). PressPlay ( has affiliations with the MSN Music, Yahoo!, and Roxio web portals and offers music owned by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and EMI. A significant rival service is Rhapsody, offered by ( Rhapsody combines a free Internet radio service with an on-demand music subscription service.

Expect more rivals to emerge - including the reformed Napster.


Downloading and shopping for music online


On 18 October 2001 became the first of several online music channels to be hit by the year's accelerating recession among US "dot.coms". Across the e-commerce sector a re-evaluation of the viability of business models led to existing investors withdrawing funds and calling in substantial start-up debts and to new investors becoming increasingly hard to find. A week later another free to listen (i.e. non-subscription) music channel, ClickRadio, went the same way.


Web radio's relationship with other transmission routes


Digital Direct Satellite Broadcasting: XM Radio went live across much of the US as 2001 drew to a close. (See Listeners are tuning in on the Sony XM 'plug snd play' receiver, which can be moved between car and home or the Pioneer ZM which is a fixed addition to an existing car stereo. Rival Sirius is following on from February 2002. Both are offering samples of their output online.

Chapter 7


Web radio portals or aggregating sites

pp 140 The Stafanki site now maintains a very broad and interesting selection of on demand streams from (English language) speech radio stations around the world.


The front end - web page design

pp 147-50

Web credibility:

For further thoughts about what makes a website 'credible' to its visitors visit the webcredibility website, which is dedicated to systmatic research among web users of what makes sites 'work' for them or not. Among other useful links the site lists 10 basic guidelines for web designers. There's also a preliminary report on an extensive study being carried out by Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab in partnership with Makovsky & Co, the Stanford-Makovsky web credibility study.


Building a brand

pp 153

I should add Radio Free Virgin to this example of the durability of the Virgin brand. Radio Free Virgin is a collection of music channels, operated out of Los Angeles, and set up as one of Richard Branson's stable of companies somewhat in competition with the UK based Virginradio streams (case study in Chapter 5 in the book) - Branson having relinquished his ownership of Virgin Radio in 1997. In a relatively short period of time Radio Free Virgin has established itself as America's leading Internet-only 'radio' station, regularly topping Arbitron's and Measurecast's charts of most visited online-only radio portals (though it's figures are still substantially less than Virginradio's overall dominance - as at July 2002. It is easy to trace the particular set of circumstances the US version was able to exploit: Virginradio was a relatively early entrant to web radio and had established its brand, as discussed in the book, by the time Radio Free Virgin came along; Branson was the only person who could legitimately attach the Virgin name / logo to a second, competing radio enterprise; the distinction from the original was a branding coup, cleverly made by the addition of 'Free' to the name, which carries powerful overtones of 'alternativeness' (laid over the once distinctively alternative associations of the Virgin name, which all began with the independent and very cool record label) and futhermore is a term that's well understood in the alternaive radio sector as denoting that this is actually the original which is reclaiming its rightful name, a name that has somehow been userped by some overbearing state or corporation. Its a crafty ploy - and a vivid illustration of the associative, semi-mystical thought processes on which branding works - though of course there is little that is ovbiously more alternative or more underground about Radio Free Virgin compared with a host of other music channel portals on the Web. It's all about recognition among a bredth of audiences.

Chapter 10


Experiments in Horizontal Radio on the Web


Frankenstein's Netz ( or Wiretapping the Beast) is a unique experiment created by Atau Tankaka and produced by Sabine Breitsameter at SŸdwestrundfunk SWR. (Follow links from .) This is a quote from the project's publicity:

On this website Frankensteins Netz invites its listeners/users to take part starting 20 February 2002 and is also open to interactive inputs during the performance [on 23 March 2002]. Internet lines between Europe, Asia and America connect audio performers and VJs during the live show: I.D, noise artist in Japan, Zack Settel, voice performer in Montreal and Atau Tanaka in Karlsruhe use the net to exchange their data and render the virtual being audible and visible. The radio play is not only accessible by radio: Antoine Schmitt and Peter Hanappe have created a dynamic web interface which records and plays back the listeners'/users' texts, pictures and sounds. It thus mirrors the audible and visual transformations of Frankensteins Netz. It becomes clear that the digital organism is not the product of a single creator, but is being nurtured by the many participants: the Prometheus of the digital age is, in the final analysis, the totality of those who log into the net.

© Chris Priestman, December 2001
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