Skip to main content

Radio still beats digital for music discovery

radio stations music royalty bill old
With such an abundance of digital music services to choose from — iTunes, Spotify, YouTube et al — you might think radio’s days are numbered, but it’s still the number one way that we discover new music, according to the latest statistics released by Nielsen.

The data shows that 51 percent of music consumers in the U.S. find new tunes through radio, with 243 million of adults aged 12 and over tuning in every week. The figures have been tweaked slightly, with online radio streams bundled in with traditional car stereos and AM/FM sets, but it still leaves the venerable radio station as the most popular way of finding new music.

Related Videos

The music discovery figures were released as part of Nielsen’s full report on our entertainment habits throughout 2014. Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) and Country were the two most popular music formats on radio, while vinyl sales enjoyed another record-breaking year — it seems that traditional ways of listening to music aren’t quite dead yet.

If you spent $109 on music in 2014 then you’re bang on the average for U.S. consumers, according to Nielsen. Listening in the car remains the most common way of enjoying music, taking a 23 percent share, with listening while working (at home or in the office) in second place on 16 percent. Putting music on remains the number one entertainment activity for people in the U.S. — it even knocks watching television into second place.

Streaming music platforms grew steadily throughout the year — audio-on-demand services saw a 60.5 percent jump in usage, with video-on-demand growing 49.3 percent — and as you would expect, the number of listeners on mobile devices rose again. Finally, the number one album in terms of consumption across all formats? The soundtrack to Disney’s Frozen, of course.

[Header image courtesy of BrAt82 /]

Editors' Recommendations

The best USB-C headphone adapters for 2023
Woman listening to music on her smartphone via a headphone adapter.

Mobile devices are ditching headphone jacks at a brisk clip, so if your new Android smartphone or Apple iPad Pro ships without that precious port, you may have to purchase a wireless headset to listen in on podcasts, music, or video. Or maybe not. You can still use your device's USB--C port with your favorite headphones — if you get your hands on a USB-C headphone adapter. Just plug it into the charging port, and then plug your headphones into the 3.5mm audio jack on the other side of the adapter. It's that easy, and we hunted down some of the best USB-C headphone adapters out there to help you do exactly that.

Read more
The best Android apps in 2023: the 50 apps you need to download
best Android apps

Whether you just bought a new Android phone or are looking for ways to jazz up your old one, apps are the name of the game. They're how we communicate with friends, watch movies, stay productive, and so much more. You can have the best Android phone on the market, but if you don't also pair it with the best Android apps, you're missing out.

There are millions of Android apps on the Play Store. Many of them are great, some are fine, and others are bogus. To help you sift through everything and focus on the apps you should actually care about, we've rounded up 50 of our favorite ones right here. If you're looking for games, check out our list of the best Android games.

Read more
Google gives Android 13 a magic trick for music playback at CES 2023
Mockup image of Android 13's uninterrupted listening feature.

Android 13 launched last year, but Google is far from done working on it. A new feature announced at CES 2023 makes playing audio from Android devices on Bluetooth speakers easier than ever. Dubbed "uninterrupted listening," the feature aims to make transitioning from listening to audio content on your phone to other devices seamless and intuitive.

Uninterrupted listening gives users notifications on their phones when they get close to an audio device. As you go through your home, you might want to start listening to a song or podcast on another device (like your smart speaker or TV) based on your proximity to them. Listening to a song on your Pixel Buds Pro but walking into the kitchen near your Nest Audio? You'd get a notification prompting you to instantly transfer the audio from your earbuds to the speaker.

Read more