Will Jelli’s Crowdsourcing Kill the Radio Stars (and Save the Stations)? Stay Tuned

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gamed and controlled by a small community, who might make it like ‘all Goth radio all the time’ or something. What we ended up seeing, when you have a bunch of smart people who love music actually get together to shape a playlist, is that sometimes they can do things that are very unexpected, or human, or ironic.”

For example, Jelli listeners have spontaneously assembled whole blocks of songs on themes such as the lunchtime munchies, schoolteachers, and even swine flu (every song contained a reference to pigs). “When these things happen on Jelli, they are truly special, and have everything to do with the audience,” says Dougherty. “It really does encourage us to say that if you are a broadcaster, you should harness this very powerful group of fans for your station, who are generally knowledgeable around music and can do things that are unexpected and cool and really create entertainment value that’s hard to fabricate by doing things the old way.”

Jelli closed a $7 million Series A funding round with Battery Ventures and First Round Capital in May, and will use some of the money to expand its current team of 15 employees to about 20, Dougherty says. Also high on the agenda is a mobile version of the Jelli Web interface. “You can make an argument that we should have launched just with mobile,” he says. “Roughly 65 percent of all radio listening occurs outside the home, and we should have Jelli available wherever listening occurs.” Dougherty says the company will be making some announcements “shortly” about the company’s strategy for taking advantage of the iPhone, Android phones, Twitter, and the like.

Meanwhile, Jelli continues to roll forward in its original time slot on Sunday nights on Live 105. In fact, that show has become so popular, with so much feel-good participation by fans that the station unofficially rebrands itself as “Love 105” during this time slot, Dougherty says.

“If you’re going to pick a show to listen to, I really like Sunday night,” he says. “It’s just got an awesome vibe.”

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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