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People get really attached to their radio stations. Each one has its own personality and unique music taste. The only problem is that they’re filled to the brim with ads and chatter, which doesn’t float well in a world where people have also become spoiled with on-demand music services like Spotify or Rdio.
Having just launched alongside its iOS app (you can also tune in online), the savvy Cape Town, South African startup seems to have managed to find a sweet spot in between a radio industry playing catch-up and a highly competitive music industry ruled by record labels and million dollar giants.
Imagine listening to your favourite radio station while having the ability to skip, pause and play songs as you like. Recast does just that with over 250 international radio stations to choose from.
“At some stage I was listening to the radio station and they were playing Beyonce or some crap — one of those songs that’s just been super overplayed,” Recast founder Richard Oakley tells Ventureburn in a recent interview. “They played this one about 20 times and all you wanted to do at that moment is just skip the track. But you can’t. So now when you’re in a car, what you tend to do is change the radio station.”
The web developer explains that soon started hacking to see what it would look like if you just took the music part of your favourite radio station. And that’s exactly what Recast does. The online service gives you a playlist of your favourite radio station which you can skip, pause and play. You won’t be interrupted with ads, presenters and repeats.
The business side of Recast
“The gut feeling is kind of like Recast is very anti-radio,” Oakley says. But Recast is actually meant to be the opposite, offering a lifeline to an incredibly out-of-date industry.
“The industry is going to go the same way as print. It’s just not in the same slope,” the founder predicts. “It’s difficult to tell how many listeners they are losing because the measurements are so rubbish. It’s all survey based which is not really representative.”
With a strong background in the local radio industry, Oakley explains that radio stations today don’t have empirical methods of obtaining listener data. Radio stations all around the world still rely on ancient methods such as telephone surveys and focus groups to find out if their audience actually enjoy listening to their music.
What Recast does is it gathers a whole lot of valuable data from specific radio station fans. Oakley explains:
As [the listener] favourites and skips through tracks, we’re storing all this analytics about him which means that we can go back to 5FM and tell them that people who want to listen to 5FM hates Taylor Swift 30% more this week than they did last week. We also provide a bunch of other tools that can help radio station test new songs before playing it to half a million listeners.
It’s like an online focus group for radio stations.
“Everyone wants their own perfect playlist,” Oakley says. Services like Pandora or Spotify help you do this by suggesting songs to your playlist based on your favourites or play history. But Oakley believes that radio stations have already built the best playlists. “They have people who spend their entire careers figuring out what people like.”
Recast is free to use but listeners need to have a Rdio or Spotify account to log in.
“We’re not trying to be an on-demand music service like Spotify or Rdio. It’s literally about streaming music from your favourite radio station’s playlist,” Oakley reassures us. “But I don’t think it’s really a zero-sum game it’s an and game.”