Stationhead, the next big thing

Wouldn't this business be easier if we could just access other people’s devices and directly control what music they stream? With Stationhead, now you can.

Stationhead is a mobile community of personal radio stations. Users add songs to their stations, which play in constant rotation 24 hours a day, while followers, fans, and friends tune in and out at their leisure. The music itself is fetched from the streaming provider that each user must connect with at sign-up, meaning every song heard through Stationhead registers a paid stream on Spotify Premium or Apple Music (more platforms have been promised). Open the mic to add commentary between songs (called “going ON”) and invite listeners ON the broadcast to conduct interviews or take requests. The most valuable feature, the BITE button, allows listeners to add the song they’re hearing into rotation on their own station with just one click. 

Still in private beta, Stationhead’s daily active user base isn’t yet a disruptive threat, but when the medium catches on the music industry will experience a massive decentralization of power.

I was only minutes into witnessing my first live Stationhead demo when a listener typed something very important into the chat feed: “play Highly Suspect’s my name is human!” I was puzzled. Did this guy just ask permission to hear a song he could easily stream himself? As the presenter placed the song into the queue, I had a flashback to being twelve years old, jammed in the back of my mom’s royal blue Cavalier coupe. The Ace of Base tape was in the center console, of course, but somehow “The Sign” made my sister and I way more excited when it came on the radio.

I’ve been a part of over 100 Stationhead broadcasts since that afternoon last November, and each one has been littered with educated adults asking permission to hear music that is otherwise two taps away. Why? Because it’s thrilling to experience music together. Couple the concurrent chat feed with guest commentary capabilities and you have a totally immersive, social listening experience. More than just a streaming app, Stationhead uses music to feed our fundamental human need for connectedness. I believe the world needs technology that delivers this at scale.

We are undeniably in the midst of an audio renaissance. Screen fatigue is real and the market for visual content is beyond oversaturated. That’s why talented podcasters are being rewarded today and why entertaining Stationhead broadcasters will be tomorrow. Stationhead is the Facebook Live of podcasting: it’s snackable and unapologetically raw with virtually no barriers to entry. Throw in fully licensed access to every song in the universe and power users will flock. What’s more, these celebrity creators will bring their existing fan bases for free, making Stationhead’s growth virtually costless.

Imagine a live-streaming video platform -- let’s call it “PrimeCast” -- that requires every user to connect through Amazon Prime. When a consumer product appears on camera it is automatically ordered by every viewer present (Earth to Bezos...genius idea alert!). It wouldn’t take long for every professional creator under the sun to realize the commercial power of being “PrimeCast famous.” Stationhead is that exact concept, only for music: friends and fans come to be entertained by you, but every time you play a song it registers a paid stream on the listener’s premium streaming account. Play 10 songs for 100,000 listeners and you will generate 1,000,000 paid streams. To think, if each of the 4,000,000+ views on my Instagram skit with Supreme Patty had resulted in a paid stream of Famous Dex’s “Pick It Up,” it would have meant bookoo bucks. Stationhead is making that outcome possible, which is why influential people are joining the community every week in search of the tremendous power that will come with being “Stationhead famous.”

When individuals like you and me are programing independent “radio” stations with million-plus audiences, playlisting and promotion will be fully democratized and the major label business model will be severely disintermediated. Artists will self-release through networks of independent Stationhead gatekeepers and the best songs will become the subjects of widely publicized “BITE button success stories.”, all on their own. Unless, of course, major labels figure out how to build the largest Stationhead stations for themselves (hint, hint).

Stay tuned for station-building best practices, or come ON one of my weekly broadcasts and see for yourself. I’ll have the airhorn ready.

- Max

DISCLOSURE: I am an investor in Stationhead.

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