New data out of the US offers some new perspectives on how people are using radio and listening to music. The Infinite Dial study says:
- 82% of the population listens to traditional AM/FM in their cars every day–still a healthy number, but down slightly from previous years (-2% from 2016 and -4% from 2015).
- Although you may not have shoved a CD into your dashboard in years, 52% of Americans still listen to CDs in their vehicles
- That CD number is decreasing rapidly as more people (45%), up from 31% are using digital music (i.e. playlists from their smartphones)
- Streaming services (Spotify, etc) are used by 26%, up from 2014’s figure of 14%.
- Satellite radio ranks at 22%
Source: Radio Ink
Since we’re on the topic, what about online listening? Again from Radio Ink:
Sixty-one percent of the U.S. population (170 million) people now listen to some type of music over the Internet every month. That’s up 4% from 2016 and most of the growth is coming from listening on mobile devices. The 12-24 demo listens online the most (87%). Fifty-three percent listen every week, up from 12% a decade earlier in 2007.
Finally, music discovery. One more time from Radio Ink.
Radio lost a little ground to YouTube when it comes to music discovery, according to Infinite Dial 2017. Friends and family remain the number one source for music discovery (68%), YouTube came in second (64%), with AM/FM radio dropping to third (63%). Pandora was a distant fourth (48%) and Facebook (41%) was fifth.
All this should provide thought-provoking discussion for people in the traditional broadcast radio industry. How can an analogue technology evolve so that it can continue to provide engaging audio entertainment in a world where content is increasingly available on demand? People like me are working on it–and trust me: we’ll figure it out. Eventually.