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NPD Finds Online Music Listening Grows, AM/FM Steady

Study reveals increasing numbers of consumers adopting online radio options to listen to, and discover, music

According to The NPD Group, 43% of Web users chose to listen to music via Pandora, Slacker, Yahoo! Music, and other online radio options in 2011, which is 9 percentage points higher than the previous year. At the same time listening to music on AM/FM radio stayed relatively steady (84%) in 2011, as did CD listening (74%).

Based on the findings of NPD’s “Annual Music Study,” there were 18 million more online radio listeners in 2011. Listening to free online radio is most popular among young adults 18–25, and strong listener growth is also occurring among those 36–50.

NPD SVP Industry Analysis Russ Crupnick said the results show licensed online radio services are having two effects on consumer music listening habits: less file sharing and an improved ability to find new artists.

Most consumers choose the free version of these online radio options. According to the findings, 42% of Web radio users listened to free services and just 3% paid to listen online.

Twelve percent of Web users listened to music integrated into Facebook or other social networks by services like Spotify and MOG, though it’s hard to pinpoint “the platform’s importance, in terms of ongoing music usage and purchasing,” according to Crupnick.

The results are based on surveys of 5,799 consumers age 13 and older.