AccuRadio (“Better radio for your workday”) offers over 975 expertly-curated channels of rock, pop, R&B, jazz, country, classical, pop standards, Broadway, Christmas music, world music, and more, targeting an upscale, educated, at-work P35-64 demographic. AccuRadio is America’s fastest-growing music-based webcaster according to the past six months (January-June 2015) of Triton ...
“It’s always been a challenge to make it simple to access 975 channels across 60 genres,” admitted AccuRadio Chief Technology Officer Michael Schmitt. His team designed the platform for what has become over 3.2 million listeners from all demographics—listeners with varying levels of familiarity with the ways of the Internet. AccuRadio standing as today’s fastest-growing webcaster* is driven by its easy and intuitive user interface.
To achieve this, AccuRadio tackles the tyranny of choice. You’d think people would want unlimited options to choose precise preferences, but that can be daunting and confusing. Schmitt’s mission is to make it effortless to access the music that satisfies listeners most—not necessarily what they think they want.
The online listening experience can be just as rich and pleasantly surprising as listening to a great DJ spinning R&B or rock or classical in the heyday of broadcast radio. AccuRadio makes it straight-forward: Selecting pre-built channels spotlights what’s requested yet also invites listeners to browse and parse and discover. AccuRadio’s many curators, passionate about all kinds of music, decide which songs are similar enough to bundle together and which ones are lovable enough to broadcast at all. Colorful photos denoting channels on a distinctive plum-colored background are explanatory, inviting, and just plain pretty. And AccuRadio delivers with the fewest possible clicks.
Schmitt said that while a lot of music services look super-clean with ample white space, “it turns out aping what they’re doing is not the way to go. If we expect users to start with only a search box, they’ll freeze up or type in only one band name. The result isn’t likely to keep them listening for hours. When we suggest categories, they find channels that make them happier, even if they didn’t realize what they wanted.” One result of this “let it ride” model: AccuRadio users’ average time listening in a session is about three times longer than Pandora’s or Spotify’s.
AccuRadio’s core audience is educated professionals over 35—people likely to entertain and travel and multi-task—people not wanting to hover over a device to keep music going. Typing in artists’ names or experimenting with customizable playlists seems like a lot of work to people on the go. Many use music to set the right atmosphere for exercising, driving, relaxing, housework, or hosting. They can shortcut to previous choices or what’s trending today. Considering new channels is easy, thanks to brief descriptions and pics of representative musicians. For example, click on Tim McGraw’s photo over the title Country Chill—a more restrained country soundtrack for productivity or relaxation, and hear McGraw, LeeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood, and the like.
Similarly, the powerful person selecting an office’s daily soundtrack wants to uncap the music and let it flow, not fiddle with it. AccuRadio takes of the pressure and helps identify channels that please more coworkers more of the time. One idea: Classical Concentration—Classical compositions conducive to creative cognition.
Schmitt, who is 27, described how subscription or pay-on-demand listening services “tend to attract mainly hard-core fans seeking specific songs by artists they already know—people who can rattle off their top 10 favorite albums. But AccuRadio is a free product appealing to people who just want occasion-appropriate music.” The homepage first shows about 12 channels to choose from, with about 80 more when the user scrolls down. Even if it looks like a long list, compared to a single search box, tests have shown it’s the right number of options for people to see breadth but also hone in on what they prefer. And they can mark channels as favorites to return to them quickly
For instance, if a free-form search box is a user’s only option, he might enter “light jazz.” But what’s light and jazzy is open to interpretation, and there’s no telling what an algorithm would produce. So, said Schmitt, “we provide enough curated options to let them connect in their minds with the way experts describe genres and present channels called Smooth Jazz Covers or Super-Mellow Instrumental Jazz or Top 50 Jazz Albums of All Time.” 67 more channels are available in the Jazz category, including Third Stream—where classical and jazz meet and Jazz for Concentration—conducive to clear thinking. Most genres, like jazz, also sort songs by decade of release.
When a user searches by an artist’s name, AccuRadio delivers a cohesive mix beginning with a track by that artist. For example, entering Frank Sinatra in the search bar yields dozens of applicable channels—including Memories and Melodies (with “How About You” as the first song, followed by Andrews Sisters and Frankie Lane numbers) and The Johnny Mercer Songbook (starting with “Something’s Gotta Give,” then selections by Tony Bennett and Louis Prima). Searching for Elton John brings up over 40 options including Classic Rocktopia (with “Bennie and the Jets” first, followed by selections from Talking Heads and John Fogerty) as well as Magic Sunny Hit Mix (with “Your Song” playing first, followed by hits from the Beatles and Whitney Houston).
Although AccuRadio has seen its greatest growth among desktop users, its mobile app works perfectly well. If an app user’s car has an auxiliary jack, she can connect her phone or mediaplayer to her car stereo and use the skip or volume controls on her dashboard or steering wheel. And Schmitt’s team continues to pursue the best balance between displaying simply on the smallest of screens and offering AccuRadio’s virtually bottomless well of great music. The research continues.
AccuRadio offers over 975 expertly-curated channels of rock, pop, R&B, jazz, country, classical, pop standards, Broadway, Christmas music, world music, and more, targeting an upscale, educated, at-work P35-64 demographic. AccuRadio is America’s fastest-growing music-based webcaster according to the past six months (January-June 2015) of Triton Digital’s “Webcast Metrics Top 20” monthly rankers in terms of year-over-year growth rate (Average Active Sessions, Mon.-Sun. 6a-12m, domestic). AccuRadio also consistently has the highest Average Time Spent Listening (ATSL) of all personalizable radio brands. Each month, over a million unique listeners (largely in the U.S., Canada, and Japan) tune into AccuRadio via its website (www.accuradio.com) and its top-rated mobile apps.