Home Home Q & A with Michael Dougherty, CEO of Jelli

Q & A with Michael Dougherty, CEO of Jelli

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Social radio service Jelli has recently launched its Android application to help capture the 37% of the U.S. market that may want to experience radio at the next level.

Jelli is hoping to take traditional radio social, by putting listeners in charge and giving them 100% control of what is played. Check out the Q and A I had with,CEO, Michael Doughtery as he was preparing to launch Jelli’s android application at SXSW.

Why was Jelli created?
Our team came from a variety of companies that had worked on projects in the tech space, specifically with Amazon Kindle and Yahoo. We have a lot of experience working with mobile and social. So, with the explosion of social web and mobile phones we thought if we could combine them with a medium as powerful as radio we could really create something special.

How would you explain Jelli to my grandma?
Lol, a lot of people call it crowdsourcing for radio. I would simply explain Jelli as a format where listeners are 100% in control of what songs are being played on the radio.

How has your partnership with Facebook affected your company’s growth?
We got to know some of the guys on the Facebook platform who were involved on the music side, so for about a year or so we were integrated into Facebook connect. From our perspective, it has been a really consistent driver of growth and if you are using Jelli while you are logged into your Facebook account your able to share the music you like with your social graph which drives more users back to us. So, we have actually found it to be more of a consistent increase of users as opposed to this massive increase. I would say every month we get 5% to 10% increase of users coming to us because of Facebook.

How do people find Jelli?
It’s typically two ways that people usually hear about Jelli. One, is hearing us on the an FM radio channel. As part of the broadcasts, we have audio prompt that encourages listeners to login to Jelli on their desktops or using their phones. Also, Facebook sends us incremental users by one user listening to a song and their friends picking it up in their news feed. It’s usually a song or a string of songs that a friend is listening to and all of a sudden they want to know what’s going on.

What are some of the major differences between a service like Jelli and iHeartRadio?
The big difference is Jelli has a highly social feel. Now, what’s great about iHeartRadio is you get to listen to a lot of local radio your already familiar with and secondly your able add personalize radio sort of like Pandora. What we like to call Jelli is a 3rd model. Jelli is a social broadcast where everybody is listening to a song but they all are contributing to a playlist and shaping it in real-time while communicating with each other. Another difference between us an other services is, there is a chatroom where you connect with other users and discuss whats been played. It’s the difference between having a glass of wine at home or having it at a bar. People initially come to Jelli because they love the music but they come back because of the interaction and the social aspect.

What are some of the challenges you face in terms of picking up user growth?
Our model is totally based on getting on more radio channels. So the challenge we face is making broadcasters aware that there is an option for them to add a succesful social aspect to their station. And. with that it just takes time. Right now we are in 20+ markets and we have great relationships with the large radio groups so we are definitely getting there. So it’s just the fact that we are in a very traditional industry and we a re breaking some rules with the way we operate.

Are you having more success with the smaller stations?
We thought we would, but we ended up working with a lot of bigger stations because they are really aggressive about getting more social. We started off with the concept of breaking into smaller markets and making those stations highly social, but the same can be applied to bigger stations. We are doing something with Hot 97 in Ny and they have three branded radio station that you can stream which is pretty big and FunkMaster Flex has his own show. We also did something with Power 106 in LA, where we helped them create a show that helps them to choose the new music they play.

What is the long-term vision for Jelli?
We think every radio should be social. Our goal is for Jelli to be the social format for every radio station in the country.