Jelli Interview: What Radio Democracy Leads To

Last week Apple made Jelli a “Featured” app in the App Store.

image from This is part two of my interview segment with Mike Dougherty, who is CEO of Jelli, a crowdsourced and social radio service. In this interview, Dougherty talks about how Jelli could help radio revolutionize their approach to advertising and his aspirations for creating a music service that's supporting of all artists.

Hypebot: Can Jelli to help radio rethink their ads?

Mike Dougherty: All of the activity on Jelli is measured in real-time. We’ve created a feedback loop for the radio. Our platform tunes the broadcast to the interests of the audience, in real-time, and create more relevant programming. We think we can do the same with advertising. 

Radio spots can be treated just like a music file - we can serve the right ad at the right time based on understanding the audience, which would be a first for radio. We can take the $16 billion of existing budgets allocated to radio, and use that budget in a better way, combining the reach of radio and accountability and engagement of the web.

Hypebot: How does crowdsourced, Jelli radio create unique streams?

Mike Dougherty: Radio democracy doesn’t just yield to the pop charts; it creates something new. With Jelli, what you hear is based on crowdsourcing, not an algorithm. Early on we started seeing people band together to create “themed rock blocks” by rocketing tracks up the playlist that are in keeping with a particular theme. These blocks are triggered spontaneously and can last for hours. They are pretty fun, and we’ve seen all sorts of themes including “Psycho Blocks” (“Psycho Killer,” Talking Heads, “Psycho Therapy,” Ramones, “Crazy Train,” Ozzy Osbourne, etc.), animal blocks, food blocks, travel blocks, and many others. It is the kind of spontaneity that results in irony and humor, and is one of the ways Jelli lets the crowd curate their own amazing experiences.

Hypebot: Will Jelli encourage fans to become more active and engaged?

Mike Dougherty: There is a thriving community on Jelli stations, as well as on Twitter and Facebook. We hear from people all the time that Jelli has led them to listen to a broader set of music. When someone you like rockets a track and shares why they like certain type of music or an artist in the chat room, you can gain new appreciation.

Hypebot: Can Jelli help foster a music community that supports creativity?

Mike Dougherty: We will put any artist’s CD on Jelli. We experiment with our streaming-only stations. We have three “open” streaming stations on Jelli, which are not tied to specific formats. This allows for any song from our catalog to be played, across genres. We will be adding links for users to buy tracks soon, which will help compensate artists. We are also interested in adding concert info as well, which can further support artists.

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