Radio Still Rocks for Favourite Tunes and New Music Discovery

Turn up the dial and shout along: Radio is still the source of new music and finding old favourites among listeners.

Research from Edison indicates 53% of listeners turn to radio to listen to songs they already know and love. Another 42% use radio – not streaming services or YouTube or anything of the like—to discover new music and see what’s new. A smaller margin still, just 16%, suggested they kept listening to radio because it offered them more than streaming, while 28% check in with their radios to see what’s trending.

There’s another reason radio’s strength is enduring: listeners aren’t interested in one more thing sucking their smartphone batteries dry. The same research suggests 39% of listeners think apps, including for music streaming, use too much battery, with the same portion of respondents saying the amount of battery used or available will influence which apps they’re opening.

Keep in mind, phones have an FM chip that’s activated in the US but there’s growing support for that in Canada too. That allows anyone with a smartphone to listen to FM stations with headphones, all without using data.

Speaking of which, 46% of respondents complained that streaming and other sources of music use too much of their mobile data plan. Another 49% responded that they purposefully limit the use of some apps to avoid overage charges.

The simple truth is radio is everywhere: It’s in our cars, it’s in our homes, it’s been a trusted source of information and entertainment for a century. While it’s common now to get news alerts on our phones, radio is still a reliable source of breaking news during emergencies, including weather updates during storms, school closures, election results and other important information.

The nearly 2,100 people questioned by Edison and NextRadio loved radio’s portability, even if 91% of people admitted they’d stayed in their cars longer to finish listening to a song or a program.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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