Idea Discovery: Where is the Cutting Edge?

Fred Wilson has been thinking about radio’s relevance on the music scene. He still likes radio, but feels that due to the web, the paradigm has flipped. Instead of the place that you discover new music – where music breaks – it is the end of the road, in a sense. You end up on the radio once you reach the pinnacle of success.

“Music discovery” is a phrase I see more and more of. Online, there are a number of great free services to listen to new music, that is based on your personalized taste, and those of others.

Is this same change in paradigm occurring in other traditional media brands? To be on the cutting edge, to be ahead of the curve – do you need to tune into conversations and articles on the web; that, by the time you read about it in tradional media – the trend been so well established, it is now “safe” to alert the mainstream?

Perhaps this is where the value of a niche focus really comes into play. General interest brands have to use a heavy filter to only give the most relevant news across a huge number of topics. But by the time a topic floats to the top – worthy of an in-depth look from a major brand – the are only rehashing what thousands of others have been creating for months.

With the increasing influence of these smaller sources and communities – will traditional media be sidelined from the conversation – too late to the party?