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Radio still beats digital for music discovery

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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.

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 /]

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