How People Listen in the Car

Although these are American numbers–and numbers collected by radio-related companies (Arbitron, Edison and Scarborough)–there’s something to be gleaned here.

At the moment, 84% of drivers and passengers say that AM and FM radio is their top choice for entertainment while in a car.  That’s comforting for radio group owners.  However…

 

  • 24% of those 18 and older have used their iPod/MP3 player in the car.
  • If we move to just 18-24 year-olds, 55% of them have hooked up an iPod in the car.
  • About 20% of people 18-24 (6% overall) access Pandora on their phone in the car.
  • 40% of Americans want built-in wireless in the car (and this beyond connecting just your smartphone).

Dig deeper and you’ll find this:

 

  • The dominance of radio listening in cars has dropped by 12% since 2003.
  • In-car listening to satellite radio has increased from 1% in 2003 to 8% today.

 

Now look at this chart:

 Radio had better pay attention to these trends.  More detail here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “How People Listen in the Car

  • September 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm
    Permalink

    I just recently rented a car and was listening to a satellite radio station that played music similar to a very quickly flipped station here in Edmonton. And I was a little sad I didn't have the, local, terrestrial choice.

    Hopefully radio stations are thinking about new content to engage listeners and aren't hanging their futures on being the top choice in-car, since that is clearly starting to erode.

    Reply
  • September 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm
    Permalink

    Jeff – was that station like The Sound? If so, I'd pay for satellite radio just for that. Great station.

    (Also, hello!)

    Reply
  • September 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm
    Permalink

    It was indeed The Sound (which, for non-Edmontonians was a short-lived station aimed at people in their late 20s and early 30s featuring 90s rock and pop, some new stuff, and even local music). It was a terrible decision to flip formats after, what, a few months?, since it was actually entertaining and fresh.

    I really hope radio stations figure out why satellite radio, podcasts, and iPods are good options: they aren't the same predictable stuff I can hear in every single city on 3 different stations. Be original, take chances with your format (such as being a little more niche), and embrace your city's music.

    p.s. Hi back!

    Reply

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.