Radio Still the Best for Discovering New Music
October 28, 2013
We wanted to test Radio’s image as the place to be exposed to and discover new music you would like.Â In recent years, especially in elite circles, the chatter is loud that Radio sucks for this benefit.Â That Radio is in fact the least effective way to discover music.Â So does the general audience believe this?Â Have we fallen behind social media? YouTube videos? Word of mouth?Â Music websites?Â
And what about online/app “radio” streaming services?
We have recently touched on the expanding awareness of audio streaming.Â Both of our original kind of broadcast-simulcast-streaming and of some of the new digital alternatives.Â We have also started tracking both kinds of streaming, and who is doing it.Â So far, the insurgent services, in general, have not broken through in actual mass usage with existing radio listeners.Â We will continue to monitor this.Â Nevertheless,Â at the same time, these insurgent services are quickly acquiring images in the minds of the listening public.Â
Some of the images of new streaming services are negative and work in favor of traditional stations.Â Those images would include a perception that streaming services are still developing, don’t consistently work well, cost too much, are too complicated, are not a convenient button, et.Â al.Â We caution that those images could dissipate quickly, if/when streaming services really take off.Â A decade ago, we watched as the iPod launched.Â Among radio listeners, it was overwhelmingly perceived as not worth the money, complicated or cumbersome, and limiting.Â Within two years, those perceptions had evaporated, and iPods were proliferating.
Meanwhile, we know that streaming services are gaining awareness and are establishing benchmarks.Â One of these turns out to be an image as a leading new-music exposer.Â Now, remember, this is not about behavior.Â It has always been true that the image of a fashion leader is strong among the less-hip who never use that fashion leader.Â So far, that may be the case with streaming audio.Â Just because a listener says streaming is a new-music leader does not mean that the listener feels the need for or is using streaming for new music.Â Or, in fact that the listener even wants to hear any new music.
That said, let’s see whether Radio does in fact suck for new music.Â And which media look good.Â In the opinion of the only people who count.Â Listeners who are willing to do radio research for money.Â Â So put the question to our most recent national survey of radio listeners 18-54.Â Presenting respondents with six choices, we asked:
Here are are some pretty powerful findings: (1) Despite the hipsterish dissing of Radio, we rank #1 as a perceived new music leader, with 57% of listeners.Â (2) Streaming apps have a strong #2 (48%) image for this, but that far outstrips the actual demand for and usage of streaming apps.Â (3) YouTube gets close to 40% among young men, and word of mouth among women across the demos.Â (4) Social media remarkably weak.
What this means to you
You can’t please all of the listeners all the time.Â And we all know the perils of being sucked into sounding too unfamiliar.Â So it’s very healthy for Radio to know that we are actually okay.Â We are indeed the New Music Source.Â And that #2 may have the image, but may be too hip for the room.Â It sure doesn’t have the behavior.