Radio’s Hold On Music Discovery Slips

Radio’s stranglehold on the music discovery position has slipped, according to new findings from Edison Research and Triton Digital…

Edison TritonBy Paul Marszalek

For Triple A and Alternative Rock formatted radio stations, musical discovery has long been a selling point to the audience. But after holding that position nicely for years against all comers, the grip is starting to slip.

This, according to The Infinite Dial 2017, an annual market scan from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

The Infinite Dial has been in the field since 1998, and its long run has tracked audience behavioral changes regarding the use of radio, streaming, podcasting, and the adoption of new technologies and services.

Among the many findings in this year’s survey is a change in audience behavior among those who say music discovery is important to them.

For years, “Friends and Family” and radio have made for a formidable one-two punch.  But this year, radio came in third behind Friends and Family and YouTube.

In reality, it’s a statistical tie with YouTube, but additional data shows a chink in radio’s armor — and it comes from exactly where you think it would — specifically, Spotify.

Selected slides (click images for larger view):

All Sources for Music Discovery

All Sources Named for Music Discovery

Radio retains a healthy lead over all streamers in this category.

All Sources, 2016 vs. 2017


Radio dips, Spotify makes a move, others flat.

Sources Used Most Often for Music Discovery 2016 vs 2017


Radio is down 10 points, Spotify up by 6; YouTube, Pandora, and Sirius/XM up a tick.

Sources Used Most Often for Music Discovery 12-24

And there you have it

And there you have it, Spotify rocketing from 9% to 20% — one in five 12-24 year-olds use Spotify most to discover new music.

Of concern, is that the data shows the surge in Spotify capturing the music discovery position among 12-24s, but that doesn’t explain radio’s decline. The radio numbers for this demo are flat. This, in turn, suggests that radio’s music discovery position being eroded in older demos.

Filed Under: Actual NewsFeaturedLinkageNewsRadio and Records


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