Actually, as many of you remember, this site was available free for four years prior to switching to our present paid model.
That’s a long tryout!
I am sincerely grateful to all of you who have joined our group and subscribed.
A little context on our first anniversary.
I was teaching at USC, consulting, writing a book and trying to write a post a day for Inside Music Media. I named the site Inside Music Media because I believed – and still do – that music, media and the mobile Internet cannot all go together in the digital age.
And as a professor of music industry at USC, I devoted my time to writing courses and teaching generational media to amazing young people of the next generation – that’s why generational media is an integral part of this publication.
I used to get 300 emails a day on average from readers of the free model about the stories I wrote and tried to answer every one of them – as you probably know if you contacted me then. I still love the back and forth with readers today.
So it came down to this – either, stop writing it and get on with business or making Inside Music Media a bigger part of what I do.
Many doubted that this pay model would work but in the first year our group has grown consistently month after month. I hardly ever take a day off from writing it – actually, I love to write about these topics. I have the most understanding wife in the world, Cheryl, who knows practically all of you because she handles your subscription questions and conference registrations.
After all, I met her when she worked at Inside Radio and I wouldn’t let Clear Channel have her when they bought the company! I married her and took her with me. What a deal.
Half of all subscribers sign up for a one-year subscription from day one.
There is a 95% renewal rate on the monthly subscriptions. We lost a monthly subscriber because he had to save up for an engagement ring but he came back this week and wrote me a nice note to tell me.
We caught a big radio CEO stealing a subscription by using another person’s password. No, it isn’t you-know-who or that other guy. This CEO used to steal Inside Radio when I published it as well. You’ve just gotta laugh. People who make ends meet, pay and millionaires steal.
I have found that operating a pay site is more difficult than I thought but I have this wonderful developer named Brock Ferguson from a company called Caribou who is responsible for most of the good things the site does every day. Brock and I are working on plans for the year ahead to connect the group further and enrich the experience.
We had one server problem in the first year and Brock stayed up all night, fixed it and then changed servers so that we could be even more reliable.
I am often asked where I get my story ideas from.
Well, about 30% come from you. In fact, I get lots of great links, stories and emails that are usually very reliable. Of course, we do our best to check them out before deciding whether to run with a suggested story.
Some things are confidential. Some are not. I never exposed a source – not even when Clear Channel was trying to sue me ten years ago. I’m proud of that.
I don’t sell email addresses.
Don’t overly commercialize my seminars.
Never let a vendor take the microphone to pitch you their wares.
No, I don’t hate Lew Dickey.
If you know me, you know that is true.
Bob Pittman is a nice guy and I say it over and over in print.
I dislike the deed and not the person – that’s what we taught in Dale Carnegie and it’s good advice. I was a Dale Carnegie instructor for many years.
I am friends with some media people but when we disagree they don’t seem to get mad – maybe that’s why we are still friends.
And overall, everyone in our media group is so nice. It helps because in radio today the mood is gloomy. People are treating other people in ways no one could imagine even ten years ago.
My readers are a diverse group – young, mid-career, accomplished media types who, believe it or not, are still keeping up with the many changes that affect the media industry.
I have great love of musicians and young music industry entrepreneurs. They remind me of my students – bright, engaged and passionate.
You’ve no doubt noticed that I like to write about mobile content as much as I like writing about radio and music.
My readers have great interest in what’s new, what’s next and what skills they will need to be part of it.
The iPad is a game changer and it will be entrepreneurs like many of you who will innovate in content and marketing. I’m going to try to call the trends in advance for you.
One of my good friends – a fellow publisher – told me “JD, this will never work. People will not pay $99 to read you”.
I said, that if that’s the case, then they will be doing me a big favor by reminding me to go do something else.
Fortunately, my friend’s prediction has not come true and you subscribed.
And I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who reside in our group for inspiring and enabling this effort.
I will keep the stories coming if you will keep reading them.
And hope to see old friends and new in person at my next Media Solutions Lab.