For most AM/FM stations, getting listeners to utilize their online stream remains a challenge, according to The Infinite Dial’s report. When asked whether they listened to online audio in the past week, responses ranged from a high of 82% for sports listeners, to a low 39% for those who regularly tune in classic hits.
When those same listeners were asked how often they listened to AM/FM radio online, the percentages drop significantly. The report stated that sports listeners still lead, but with 45%. Next comes R&B with 28%, while news/talk, alternative rock and hard rock/heavy metal are in a three-way tie for third with 26%. Bringing up the rear is classic hits with 11%. This disparity is a bit of a mystery, and no explanations are offered in The Infinite Dial’s report.
In some instances, there is a difference in the number of commercials aired on radio and online media, and The Infinite Dial’s report sought to determine how important hearing few/no commercials is to choosing online audio. Leading the pack, according to the report, are hard rock/heavy metal listeners, of whom 64% said few/no commercials was the only reason for listening to music online. 23% of this group said it was not a reason for choosing online audio.
Almost evenly divided on the matter are hip-hop/rap listeners, where the survey showed that 39% say no commercials are the only reason to listen to online audio, 38% say it’s not a factor in online listening, and 23% say it’s an important reason, but not the only one. At the other end of the spectrum are contemporary Christian listeners, where the report says 38% find few/no commercials a reason to tune in online, and 56% say it is not a reason.
AM/FM radio has traditionally been considered a top source for music discovery. According to this research, it still is, but it now shares the lead with YouTube and friends/family. The research also suggests that YouTube is the wild card, as its adoption defies the expected radio format and age boundaries. Trailing behind as a source for music discovery in most categories are Spotify, SiriusXM and Pandora.