Counting down the music charts has long been a feature on many radio stations, with listeners calling and texting in their favourites. In more recent years we've seen that voting adopt social media and now, ZM is moving on by only taking votes through Snapchat in its new Snapchart show.
Hitting the air last month, Snapchart with Cam Mansel closes the day with a countdown of the listeners' favourite songs sent in via the app's video function (listeners send in snaps with their vote included and the audio is played on-air).
Mansel encourages all participants to send in a video rather than still image and says the voice-changing filters have had huge appeal for those who don’t want their voice to be heard by everyone.
However, at a time when 21 percent of New Zealanders over 15 years use Spotify and seven percent use Apple Music (according to Nielsen Media Trends 2016) to listen to what they want when they want it, is a radio countdown still relevant?
Mansel believes it is, saying it’s not just about finding a number one song. Each night it plays a “discover song” that’s been trending on social media or sent in via Snapchat to help listeners hear new music that's being passed around social circles.
And because Mansel replays to the snaps he receives, Snapchart is creating one-on-one relationships and a sense of companionship that Spotify and Apple Music cannot replicate.
“A lot of people don’t expect us to reply and when we do, they have long conversations with us and you’ll start snapping someone at the beginning of the show and they’ll still be snapchatting you until the end of the show or until they go to bed.”
Mansel recalls a listener who sent in snaps with her pet possum every night for a week, while another sent in daily updates of his dog.
And it's this ability to communicate with audiences on a personal level as well as to the masses that's given it such sticking power and why 3.2 million New Zealanders over 10 years tune in each week, he says.
“Yes, it is one of the oldest mediums, but it's continuing to survive. When TV came around people thought that would be the death of radio and it never was. And when the internet came around and people said 'that’s going to be the death of radio' again but it never happened.”
Instead, he says it's continuously morphing to stay relevant with what the audience is doing.
The younger audience might always be on their phones but they aren’t making phone calls and they aren’t sending texts, Mansel says, which is why it’s opted to communicate with them via Snapchat.
“We still get the occasional call and text, but our show is targeting a younger audience so it makes sense to use Snapchat rather than getting them to call an 0800 number—that seems a bit dated.”
The show is also heavily involved in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which he says have proven a great way for radio—a screenless platform—to keep up with what people are watching on TV as well as the viral online videos.
“We’re always morphing and trying to figure out new ways to fit into the cycle,” he says.
However, the inclusion of Snapchat in one of ZM's radio shows isn't entirely new as it follows a segment on the Fletch, Vaughn and Megan show, which asks listeners to send in questions via the app. With no question off limits, Mansel says it's proven a great way for the hosts and listeners to get to know each other better.
It's also not the first time music and Snachat have been brought together. Last year, Shazam announced a partnership with the social media company, which allows Snapchat users to Shazam a song by pressing and holding the Snapchat camera screen when music is playing. The music and artist discovery can then be sent to friends.