Radio Listeners: AM/FM Still Strong; Digital Platforms Key for Youths’ Music Discovery

April 30, 2015

This article is included in these additional categories:

Automotive | Boomers & Older | Digital | Mobile Phone | Radio | Social Media | Tablet | Teens & Younger | Youth & Gen X

JacobsMedia-Primary-Platforms-for-New-Music-Discovery-Apr2015AM/FM radio continues to be the preferred medium among core radio listeners, with 81% of weekly radio station listening taking place on an AM/FM radio in a vehicle (51%) or at home, work, or school (30%), according to the latest annual TechSurvey from Jacobs Media. Consistent with recent research, AM/FM radio continues to benefit from the in-car environment, with roughly half of respondents saying that most or all of their radio listening takes place in the car.

Overall, survey respondents were almost twice as likely to say they had increased (18%) than decreased (10%) their AM/FM radio listening (on any device) over the previous year. Interestingly, the share of listening attributed to digital platforms didn’t rise from last year, although the survey authors note that this year’s sample skews older than last year. Interestingly, though, recent research from Edison Research and Triton Digital found that while online radio’s reach continues to grow, consumption this year is flat.

Meanwhile, as in previous years, the Jacobs Media survey finds that emotional connections are a primary driver of radio listening. Among the main reasons given for listening to AM/FM radio, 55% said they enjoy working with the radio on, 45% said it keeps them company, and 40% said they listen to get in a better mood. The top reason, though, continue to be a desire to hear favorite songs/artists, cited by two-thirds of respondents.

Fewer respondents (34%) reported that a main reason for listening is to discover new music. Even so, among those interested in new music and new artists, AM/FM radio is not only the most widely used discovery source (56%), but also the primary source for the most respondents (40%).

Still, there are wide generational gaps in music and artist discovery, with Gen Z respondents about half as likely as the survey average to cite AM/FM radio (on any device) as their primary source for finding out about new music and new artists (23% vs. 40%). Instead, Gen Z respondents are more likely to turn to Facebook (11% vs. 5%), iHeart Radio (9% vs. 2%) and Spotify (5% vs. 2%). (The report’s authors caution that the Gen Z sample size is small.)

Pandora, meanwhile, is particularly more influential than average among Gen Y respondents (12% vs. 5%) for music discovery. The platform continues to lead all radio applications among respondents who own mobile devices, two-thirds of whom download radio-centric apps.

About the Data: Jacob Media’s Techsurvey11 results were gathered online from January 19 – February 9, 2015. Overall, 220 radio stations across the U.S. and Canada participated, contributing 41,634 respondents.

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