amazing founder Paul Campbell explains the company’s expansion plans, and why Amazing Radio is leaving DAB in the UK.
It’s over five years since amazingtunes.com went online, almost three years since Amazing Radio was born. It’s been an incredible time. We launched in one of the worst economic environments since the Great Depression, with a very bold ambition. We wanted to change the music industry for the better, to help new and emerging musicians to find an audience and make money without getting ripped off. We aimed to do something radically different in radio, something inspired by the BBC (where I trained) but commercially viable, and globally scalable. We hoped people would find amazing, like it, and tell their friends. We were incredibly fortunate to have financial backers, all of them private individuals investing their own money, who understood the vision for the company and gave us the time, space and cash to pursue our plan.
Boy, it’s worked. There are amazing listeners and partner musicians all over the world. Things really went crazy just over two years ago, and the graphs of users, listeners and uploads now all look like hockey sticks. The feedback, from musicians and music lovers alike, has been utterly incredible. I’ve worked in media since 1978, in the UK and the States, in radio, TV and new media, for big companies and small, and I’ve never known a reaction like the one we get for amazing. We’ve seen, every day, the excitement of bands getting their first ever radio play, and the reaction of listeners who often stumble across us, and then email or Tweet to say they love it. There have been awesome reactions from national and international journalists too, who have called amazing ‘a revolution’, ‘superb’, ‘a force for good’, ‘the end of the closed shop’ and ‘nobly democratic’. It’s been astonishing and humbling.
As we grew, we were privileged to add more broadcasters to our stable, some of them new voices doing their first job after Uni, others experienced music experts, bringing a lifetime’s experience to curate the uploads to amazingtunes.com. We’ve been lucky enough to create quite a lot of jobs, now approaching 50 full and part time, many of them in the north-east of England where they are especially needed.
It’s been a huge struggle but, finally, we broke even in January of this year. Not by covering Amazing Radio’s output in adverts (I love that we’re a commercial radio station with no commercials) but by streaming some amazing tunes direct to shops and business premises. It’s a real win/win: the shops save money, the bands get paid roughly 120 times Spotify’s streaming fees, we can run our entire business from what’s left.
As time passed, and the audience and buzz grew, we started to look overseas. Later this year, amazing will formally launch in the States, with some terrestrial radio stations in key cities. We are also in advanced discussions with some, ahem, global digital brands, to make amazing part of their output. That will add many tens of millions more people to the amazing family.
So why, if everything’s going so well, is Amazing Radio coming off digital radio in the UK? Why for a time at least, will it be broadcasting online and on mobile Apps only?
It’s not our preference. We would have loved to stay on the UK airwaves – it’s been a real privilege to be ‘six clicks to the left of Radio 1’. But we’ve got into a barney with the people who own the transmitter network. It’s about money. ‘Nuff said. The net result is that Amazing Radio will continue on wi-fi, but no longer on the wireless. For the moment, at any rate.
If you have access online or via mobile Apps, please keep listening – we’ll still be there, still innovating, still expanding, still playing the world’s best new music before anyone else. If you can only listen on DAB, we’re really sorry for the inconvenience. We heartily recommend you tune to 6Music instead, our second favourite radio station. (In a funny way, we kind of feel part of the BBC. Its values have inspired amazing from the start).
If you have any questions or comments about this, please feel free to tweet or email me – firstname.lastname@example.org I promise to reply to every one personally.
Many thanks for reading this – and for supporting amazing. We’re sorry to be no longer on the radio in the UK, but thrilled by what’s happened in the past five years. We’ll keep going, helping musicians to find an audience and make money, expanding in the UK, the States and beyond, continually innovating. You’ll still hear it here first. And quite possibly on the radio again soon.