Payola
August 4th, 2005

Recently, after reading this news article on Boing Boing about Sony’s “payola” debacle, I started thinking about the smartmob-like direction that broadcast radio seems to be headed for.

It seems to me that someday soon, as more and more cities are set up with city-wide free wireless broadband, someone is going to figure out a way to deliver music digitally with the same (relative) ease as broadcast radio does now.

Basically, they will build a WiFi card into an iPod-type device. People will have (potentially) infinite number of “channels” to choose from, which will really be servers that they are streaming or downloading “podcasts” from to their mobile device (or laptop, etc).

Of course, anyone with a computer and software can create these types of broadcasts right now. Search the internet for “podcasting” and you’ll see what I mean. And you can download these from thousands of sources right now. But, when someone can walk around a whole city and pull up and listen to thousands of digital broadcasts from all over the world into a device as cheap and popular as an iPod-like device, then the nature of what we as a culture consider to be “radio” will probably change quite a bit.

So, people with popular “radio” shows of this type might eventually also be targets of Payola…?


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