On-Demand Audio Now More Popular Than Radio

We knew this day was coming and many will be surprised that it hasn’t come sooner, but on-demand audio like podcasts and streaming is now more popular than linear formats like radio, Pandora and SiriusXM. This according to the Edison Weekly Insights report, the company that constantly studies our listening habits in the United States.

On-demand audio more popular than radio

If you look back at even four years ago, radio was outpacing on-demand audio by a 24 point margin. Today on-demand has finally inched ahead of radio by .6%. That’s a small number, but it’s significant in that it outlines our new listening habits.

Where We Find Music

Probably the biggest thing it indicates is that listeners no longer turn to radio to hear and discover music. That’s been supplanted by streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, as listeners can easily dial up songs they want to hear or playlists they like to follow.

While talk and sports talk radio held its own on radio even as music listening declined, the rise of podcasts have changed the equation significantly. You might say that there’s currently a glut of podcasts available as it’s so easy to launch one, but that actually means fewer listeners for linear radio talk shows at the same time.

While it might be easy to blame radio’s takeover by conglomerates as the major cause for its decrease in listeners, and certainly that has been a factor, the switch to digital and everything online, coupled with the connected car, has also played a part. With fast cell phone speeds, easy connectablity, and a vast number of listening choices as compared to radio, there’s not much reason to switch to radio unless it’s for background audio. Even then there are other on-demand choices that might be more appropriate.

The fact that many cars no longer come with an AM radio option (although there are bills in Congress to address this in the name of public safety) cut out an entire audience for sports and talk that found other choices online instead.

Nothing stays the same for long and you could say that radio had a good 100 year run. It’s popularity will never reach zero, but it will never be what it once was as technology marches on.

Speaking of marching on, a new technology called RadioGPT may breathe new life into the delivery format with the help of Ai.

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