A new model in digital radio is giving listeners exactly what they want. Ja.fm uses a crowd-sourced model to steer its playlist, allowing its audience to choose the songs they want to hear.
Ja.fm is the first South African digital radio station that drives its playlists through its listeners’ votes. Its audience has grown from around 4 500 unique browsers in January 2012 to nearly 100 000 in January 2013.
Owned by Kagiso Media, Ja.fm is an online music offering that uses a crowd-sourced model to offer an exclusively Afrikaans playlist. Its listeners are the programme directors, steering the playlist of well-known and slightly more obscure Afrikaans music through their votes.
Attila Bernariusz, divisional head of Kagiso Digital, says: “We launched Ja.fm to complement our Jacaranda FM broadcast station and play a wider range of Afrikaans music than we do on air.”
Social and digital radio
Ja.fm’s visitors spent 2 405 hours on the Ja.fm site in January this year listening to music, voting, sharing social media content, and reading up on their favourite artists.
The Ja.fm audience is:
- Young (68% under 34 years old)
- 62% male
- Had an average click-through rate of 0.97% during January 2013.
They sent thousands of tweets, emails, SMS messages and Facebook posts during this time, with Facebook shares and Tweets providing a social reach of around 67 000 users in the social Web.
The secret sauce
The secrets of Ja.fm’s success include its interactivity, aggressive marketing, and a tightly managed editorial strategy, says Bernariusz.
“Editor Lelani Boshoff has implemented an excellent strategy that keeps the audience engaged with the music and other content on the site.
“We have dovetailed our marketing and editorial strategies to deliver value to both our listeners and our advertisers.
“We have implemented an artist directory on Ja.fm with details of close to 70 Afrikaans artists. This draws in search engine traffic and gives plenty of value to our users,” says Bernariusz.
The interactivity is the magic ingredient in the Ja.fm recipe.
“Internet audiences don’t just want to passively consume content – they want to play a role in shaping it,” Bernariusz says.