Thursday, 8 March 2007

Xfm - Dodging the Meteors

Xfm launched its new ‘unsigned’ music initiative online this week. It’s called ‘Xfm Uploaded’.

The idea is simple. If you’re an unsigned band or artist that wants some exposure, stick up some songs, a band biog / photo on the site and hey presto… you’ve got more of a potential audience than you had a few minutes before you signed up.

Xfm can then pick the cream of the crop and play them out on their ‘Music:Response’ show, as well as including them in podcasts, and before long, you’re the next Artic Monkeys. Well, that’s the theory I’m guessing.

The concept works well (even if it seems a bit familiar… BBC Radio 1’s “One Music” anyone?!!) and the site is easy to navigate and once there are a few more bands on there, I’m sure it’ll prove popular. (If you’re in a band, I’d still get a lawyer to check out the rather onerous looking “The Artist grants GCap all present and future rights in perpetuity” clauses!!)

OK – its just Xfm trying to do a MySpace, who really own that whole area of new music online, but the philosophy behind it is an important one. As radio evolves (and needs to evolve) to become less linear, for a brand like Xfm, it’s about emerging entertainment powered by the audience being at the centre of the listener experience.

The radio brand provides the ‘assurance seal’ and acts as a filter to say to consumers, “This is a good place to find really new music”. The station benefits from the image that its supports new artists, plus generating a new online community. Oh….and did I mention the £250,000 sponsorship from Stolichnaya Vodka?

This is a good example of a radio brand embracing “Radio 3.0” (did I miss Radio 2.0??) and kitting itself out for a less linear future. Some radio stations and radio brands are a little like “dinosaurs dancing in a meteor shower” at the moment. Xfm doesn’t appear to be one of those.

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