Radio and Records on permanent R&R

When I signed on to RadioandRecords.com this morning, I was greeted with the following announcement:

Dear Radio & Records Reader:

Given the consolidation of the radio and music industries, Nielsen Business Media has determined that the best way to leverage its assets and resources in support of these industries is to consolidate its music brands.

Consequently, we have decided to consolidate R&R magazine and RadioandRecords.com into Billboard magazine and Billboard.biz and to expand their coverage of the radio industry. In particular, the R&R airplay charts, which are powered by Nielsen BDS and which have become a key tracker of industry performance, will now appear in the pages of Billboard magazine and on Billboard.biz.

As promised, I was very soon redirected to Billboard.biz.

It struck me that in a way, this signaled the end of an era. Radio & Records was one of the trade publications that was mandatory reading at the radio station I used to work at. Its music charts were used by many music directors (including the one at my station) to craft their playlists from. So to have such an important publication go away is kind of a big deal.

It's not to say that broadcast radio is dead — far from it. There are still over 13,000 radio stations in this country, and millions of listeners. But does suggest there's a change in how people think about — and use — media.

It's a trend we've been adapting to at Crutchfield for some time, now. Take the category of clock and table radios, for example. Two years ago, most of the products in that category had AM and FM radio tuners. Now the primary feature is an iPod® dock. Or look at the shift in our articles and blog posts. We still write about old-school topics like how to build a car audio system, but we've also walked people through the ways to use iTunes®, reviewed Internet radio stations, chronicled the expansion of satellite radio, explained the benefits of podcasting, talked about online music services, examined Bluetooth systems and other aspects of wireless audio —  and more.

Nielsen's consolidation of publications, to me, simply indicates that they recognize what consumers (and we at Crutchfield) have known for a while. It's the content that matters, not necessarily the delivery system. In the olden days, you heard hit songs first on the radio. Now you might discover new music through Internet radio stations that only stream audio, music services like Pandora, tracks recommended by your friends through social media links, or any other number of ways. Radio may still be important, but there's no denying there's been a sea change in attitudes.

And that just keeps things interesting.

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