Last month we announced the Beta release of our live song-skipping feature on Federated Media’s WMEE – a little late getting it on the blog (it’s been a busy month!).
The overall goal of the song-skipping feature is to keep listeners on streams longer, instead of having them switch away when a song comes on that they don’t want to hear. Broadcasters work hard to attract audience, and once they’re at your site you obviously want to keep them there.
Our initial analysis of the beta period to-date is that sessions are in fact longer with the skip feature than without. However, the number of listening hours is relatively small so we are not calling this definitive. We will be working hard to collect average session length data as we roll this out at scale in Q1 2014.
Additionally, a stream featuring a limited amount of song skips should attract more audience than one without. More and more consumers are expecting this feature, especially younger ones. Once you have the ability to skip by songs you don’t want to hear, it’s hard to not have that feature.
As part of this feature we provide Program Directors with real usage data about the songs skipped and their frequency. We even keep track of how long into the song each skip request is. Having real usage data, as opposed to surveys, can only improve programming.
Lastly, as part of this press release we announced our new MusicStart(TM) feature. Built on top of the same technology as song skipping, MusicStart(TM) enables broadcasters to specify that each stream session start out with complete songs.
Many sessions are abandoned when listeners start a stream and are dropped right into an ad break. MusicStart(TM), which will be released in Q1 2014, allows broadcasters to specify the number of complete songs from their library to play at the beginning of each user session. When the songs are complete, the most recent “content segment”–the DJ talking, a song, or an ad break–is then seamlessly played, as well as the rest of the stream. The result is a nice listening experience for the audience, starting right at the beginning of the session.