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August 21, 2008 / Toby Dayton

SoundExchange Kills Pandora; Buzz Bissinger’s Apology; Newspaper Web Sites Losing Steam

Pandora, one of the most phenomenal web companies ever, is at risk of buckling under the weight of the ridiculous internet radio royalty rate hikes recently imposed by SoundExchange. Pandora, powered by its music genome project, serves up music tracks after you enter a single song that you like. It’s amazing technology and a dream site for anyone interested in music. Pandora has extended itself into the mobile world through its iPhone app that literally streams music to your iPhone. And now, they might disappear. What an absolute shame.

After yesterday’s post about Buzz Bissinger’s juvenile, uninformed, and totally off-base diatribe against DeadSpin and blogs in general, I found a very interesting interview that Bissinger gave after his appearance on Costas Now. It seems as if Bissinger has seen the ‘new media’ light (perhaps only faintly, but he does see it – or at least he’s pretending to see it). It’s a good read on why journalists and old-media media pros need to understand what is happening in the subduction zone (read yesterday’s post).

According to a recent Nielsen study, people are spending less and less time on newspaper web sites. While a few sites like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have seen average time spent per month climb, most metro newspaper sites are seeing people spend less and less time on the site each month. This trend stands in stark contrast to magazines which have seen steady increases in web traffic and reader engagement. Given the fact that most daily newspaper sites suffer from poor design, weak search functionality, web 1.0 features, thin content, non-existent innovation, and bland, ‘me-too’-type offerings, the Nielsen findings are not at all surprising. The web will do very little to help stave off the daily paper’s inevitable march into oblivion.