Music Industry

There’s an interesting divide between big artists on Spotify and on traditional radio

Viberate, a music research and analytics company thought it would be interesting to compare the playlists of thousands of music radio stations around the world to the four billion (at least) playlists available on Spotify. Were there any meaningful differences in content? Turns out, yes.

They analyzed the 100 most-streamed artists on Spotify in June 2021 and compared that analysis of the 100 artists who got the most radio airplay during the same period. Here’s what they found:

  • Younger artists (i.e. those with careers 15 years or shorter) are big on Spotify. Some 80% of the 100 most-streamed artists fall into that age range.
  • Radio is more friendly to established artists (i.e. artists whose careers extend longer than 15 years).
  • The biggest genre on streaming is hip-hop (38% pf streams), followed by pop (27%), and Latin (18%)
  • The biggest genres on radio are pop and rock (75% of total worldwide radio airplay) followed by electronic in third.
  • And then there’s this: “The five most-streamed artists each secured between 437M and 1B monthly streams, and their average monthly royalty payout was estimated at $687.5k. The 100 artists with the most radio airplay saw an average of 154k monthly radio spins, suggesting radio holds a role at the tail end of the consumption curve, encouraging long-term listenership and sales.”

What does this mean? In general, young people stream while older people listen to the radio.

Get the whole report here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 37443 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “There’s an interesting divide between big artists on Spotify and on traditional radio

  • Interesting data here. I’m very much an anomaly, as I don’t listen to commercial radio or use Spotify to stream. I do stream, but it’s almost always full albums. While a single might pique my interest in new music from an artist, their full album has so much more to offer. Depending on the artist, you get a whole story unfolding as you listen to an album. Not that the album tells a story directly, but that you get a story about the artist, the production, and the musical themes explored during this time in their artistic development. And I think that’s a pretty amazing gift to get from ANY recording artist.


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