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Blog Post: Radio’s Tempting Fate

13 March 2019

The writing is on the wall. The proof is in the pudding. You can probably add in plenty of other idiomatic expressions to say the same simple thing: Radio continues to steadily lose its influence on music and the platform is tempting fate in becoming obsolete altogether.

See: The Walkman and Blockbuster Video Stores.

Thanks to technological advances in digital music platforms and streaming services, the way we access our favorite music and discover new content is constantly changing. The market for digital audio choices is growing – and fast.

Results from the most recent Share of Ear study by Edison Research reveal that in just the past four years, listening trends have continued to shift towards digital music and streaming services and away from traditional AM/FM radio. Since 2014, music streaming services have seen a 6.8 percent increase in usage. Simultaneously the time people spend listening to AM/FM radio has decreased by 5 percent every year.

These shifts in music platform choice will not only continue, they will grow in the future. Currently, half of the hours spent listening to radio are consumed by people aged 52 and older. By contrast, the average age of those listening to music on streaming services is 37, which is far closer to the average age of the US population. Digital music services simply offer more options. They not only facilitate the discovery of new music, streaming enables listeners to curate and customize playlists that fit their style.

Smart speaker usage is also surging – usage is up to 43% amongst people aged 14-54 according to the latest NuVoodoo research – giving people the ability to listen to the music of their choosing at home and even in the car. Just check out our recent blog on technological advances moving smart speakers into new vehicles. Radio will lose its dominance in the one place people still listen to it.

As the new Edison Research underscores, radio continues to fall further behind when it comes to providing Americans with the listening experience they want. While Big Radio claims that it doesn’t have to pay artists for their work because it gives them free promotion, the large trends away from AM/FM radio usage prove this argument no longer holds. Listeners are discovering and consuming all their favorite music through other means.

There’s no need for idiomatic expressions for that one.

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