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Adios All Access

On August 15, All Access, one of the leading online sources of radio and music information for all formats and promotion and marketing efforts for record labels, will cease operations.

It is a sad development for the radio and music industries, especially for the more than two dozen staff members affected, many of whom are my friends.

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Joel Denver, the President, and Publisher of All Access, founded the site in 1995 after 14 years as the CHR editor at Radio & Records (R&R).

R&R had been the dominant industry trade publication since its founding in 1973. It ran into strong headwinds in the early years of this century. VNU, the publisher of Billboard Radio Monitor, bought R&R in 2006. VNJ merged the two into one, under the R&R masthead, until ceasing operations in 2009.

All Access is similar to R&R in many ways. It includes charts provided by Mediabase. It covers radio and record industry news for all formats. The publication covers ratings and has excellent columns covering virtually every aspect of the business. It has a section for posting jobs. All Access is sensitive to pros in between gigs. It built on technologies by creating an industry directory. All Access excels at pushing out news quickly.

After R&R ceased to exist, All Access became the leading source of news and information for all radio formats. All Access describes itself as: “The web’s largest radio and music industry community, focusing on music and radio news in all formats, but specializing in promotion and marketing efforts for all major record labels, and aggressive independent record labels as well as non-music clients including radio networks, syndicators, consultants and others interested in reaching key decision-makers in the Top 40, Top 40/Rhythmic, Hot/Modern/AC, Dance, Country, Alternative, Rock, Triple A, Urban/R&B, and Contemporary Christian music as well as News/Talk/Sports Radio formats.”

“The All Access Music Group is also a marketing partner with Mediabase, SkyView Networks, PointToPoint Marketing, Radio America, MusicMaster, PromoSuite, RCS, Jam Channel, Premiere Radio Networks, Westwood One, and more as well as record labels including Columbia, Epic, RCA, Arista, Interscope, Capitol, Republic, Hollywood, BMG, Warner, Elektra, Atlantic, Curb, many others.”

So, after 28 years, what is causing All Access to shutter or significantly reduce its coverage of the industry?

When announcing the decision on July 15, in a statement, the company cited “a significant decline in revenues that has made it impossible to continue.” The announcement includes what may be a clue as to where revenues declined. “Challenges faced by the music industry…had a profound impact on All Access.”

To be clear, I haven’t spoken to anybody at All Access or anyone else with firsthand knowledge of the situation. The following is purely speculation on my part.

Looking at All Access’s own description, it appears that music promotion has been a part of the company’s business model. I have no idea if it’s a major, significant, or minor part of the company’s historical revenue. I’m speculating that it has been a large enough revenue share and now has fallen dramatically.

The challenges facing the music industry are likely due to the continuing decline of radio. Reaching radio’s “key decision makers” may no longer get the results it once did.

A few months back, Jacobs Media presented the results of TechSurvey 23, its 19th annual survey of radio listeners. One of the first slides had a headline that read: “AM/FM Listening is Flat at its All-Time Low – Even Weaker Among the Youngest Generations.”

The slide showing “The Strength of AM/FM Radio as the Primary Source For New Music Discover is Fading” is more germane to the hypothesis about All Access.”

In 2018, among radio listeners who are very or somewhat interested in new music/new artists, AM/FM radio was the primary source for new music discovery by 41% of respondents. That number has dropped nine points over five consecutive years to 32% in 2023. During the webinar presenting the data, Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs proclaimed, “It’s a trend.”

<em>Photo Jacobs Media<em>

Edison Research’s 2020 #InfiniteDial study looked at the 24% of respondents who said, “It is ‘very important to learn about and stay up-to-date with music” in its New Music Seekers analysis.

Among New Music Seekers, even three years ago, AM/FM radio was the third source (46%) for discovering new music, distantly behind YouTube (68%) and one point behind friends and family (47%).

<em>Photo Edison Research<em>

That’s 12+ among 12-to-34-year-olds; YouTube is where 72% of New Music Seekers discover new music, followed by Spotify (51%), family and friends (49%). AM/FM was fourth at 37%. In 2020 Apple iTunes was at 30%, and Pandora at 27%. Edison hasn’t asked the question since, but if they did, there’s a strong possibility that both would surpass AM/FM radio.

No doubt, record companies have found the past few years challenging. They have had to make tough business decisions. They can get more bang for the buck going directly to new music fans on social media rather than spending what remains of their marketing and promotions budgets reaching radio’s decision makers and trying to impact airplay through All Access on a medium with increasingly less impact. That likely led to All Access’s “significant decline in revenues.”

Again, I don’t know this, but it seems logical.

Adios All Access. Thanks for 28 years of great information and service. You are appreciated and will be missed.

Andy Bloom
Andy Bloom
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.

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