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Christian Media

Spotify Play Button: No way to keep your audience away from the competition

The world of music streaming – Internet radio and on-demand – is getting more competitive by the song, the service, and the site.

Business Insider Review picks for best services.

Spotify just rolled out its new song feature called the Spotify Play Button.

(Scroll down to “Play” Glorious Day by Casting Crowns while you finish the post.)

The button is, essentially, a widget giving site owners the power to play any song, album or playlist in Spotify through a website or blog instantly, legally and for free.

I caught wind of the Spotify innovation through an announcement by The Huffington Post.  The news website and content aggregator added the Play Button to various pages across their site, enabling visitors to enjoy music curated by HuffPost editors to complement whatever it is they’re reading or viewing.

Other high profile magazine sites partnering with Spotify include Tumblr, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Mashable, Entertainment Weekly, People and Spin, among others. Brands including AT&T, Reebok, and Intel will create their own soundtracks using the streaming music platform.

The real news here, though, is just how easy the Spotify feature is supposed to be for individuals.

President Obama demonstrated use of the feature when he dropped a 27-track “Campaign Playlist” via his Facebook page. If you blog with Tumblr, all you have to do, they say, is type in the song or album you want, and Tumblr makes the widget for you to fit in your blog’s theme.

A pastor friend shared a link to his Tumblr page where he had already embedded a favorite album. I’m listening to it while writing this post and installing the widget right here:

Spotify isn’t the only streaming service upgrading/changing. Pandora, Rhapsody, Rdio, Mog, and iHeartRadio have also recently engaged in design overhauls, relaunches and acquisitions.

Stiffer competition ahead 

Streaming media services are rushing to get in on the growing online listening audience that is larger than ever before.

In the U.S., 89 million people listen to online radio each month, according to Arbitron and Edison Research, a number that’s doubled every five years since 2001.

Are these trends indications that we’re headed toward critical-mass adoption of streaming music? Is this is where the future is?” If so, what does it mean for traditional Christian radio broadcasters?

It means radio needs to get prepared for stiffer competition for audience and revenue. And folks, I’m sure it isn’t news that they’re not just coming for audience. Streaming music services have national and local traditional broadcast budgets in their cross-hairs.

“Online radio’s very survival depends on stealing ad dollars from its traditional counterparts, and it needs to do it fast,” says Adweek’s Erin Griffith.

Morgan Stanley Research forecasts that by 2016, Pandora is forecast to generate $1.45bn of ad revenue, equating to a 10 percent share of the total US radio market.

Is it only a matter of time before streaming radio has a negative impact on traditional radio revenues and listenership … and thereafter radio asset values?

In our next post we’ll look at several moves Christian broadcasters can make in order to compete in the world of online streaming media…and win.