52.1% of All Music Listening Happens on AM/FM Radio…

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52.1% AM/FM
20.3% Owned music (CDs, files, etc.)
9.6% Internet radio/music (Pandora, Spotify, etc.)
7.7% Satellite radio (Sirius XM)
5.2% TV music channels
1.7% Podcasts
1.5% Other
100.0% Audio Listening


“Despite a constantly changing audio landscape, broadcast radio controls more than half of the more than four hours a day that Americans spend with all sources of audio.”

Edison Research, ‘Share of Ear’ Breakdown, May, 2014


Written while listening to Amon Amarth on Sirius XM.

28 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Radio stations should begin to pay for the content they need.

    They were great for exposure back in the day, but artists don’t need them anymore. And if they can’t afford to do pay, they just have to go away.

    • TuneHunter

      Radio station should pay NOTHING. Just convert them to the music stores so they can support themselves and the music industry. Simple business model for healthy $100B music industry by 2020

    • Glenn Galen

      I disagree that artists don’t need radio anymore. Look at their listenership!

      Getting on the radio gives you a whole lot more exposure that Spotify or iTunes.

      Being on Spotify is like having a listing in the New York residential phone book alongside millions of other listings. Nobody stumbles onto your number and calls you. They have to already be looking for your number.


      • Anonymous

        Different artists have different experiences, so how about this:

        Make it possible for artists to say no to radio. If you can’t do that, it’s piracy.

        And I would say no in a heartbeat.

    • Patrick

      Radio pays performance rights societies, ASCAP and BMI for rights to play songs, who in turn, distribute royalties collected from radio ( and TV ) to songwriters based on frequencies of broadcast performances.

  2. wallow-T

    The source material uses the word “audio” in a way which makes me believe that the numbers include news/talk radio (and possibly other spoken word sources), not just music. In my metropolitan statistical area, 3 of the top six rated stations by Arbitron are spoken-word format, either news/talk or sports/talk.

    Similarly, we know that Howard Stern is big in satellite radio.

    • jw

      Exactly. “52.1% of All Music Listening Happens on AM/FM Radio…” is a false statement. Political/news and sports talk radio are huge portions of radio listening.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        Ok, point taken, though in partial defense keep in mind that most of the other formats have heavy talk components. Even Pandora has comedy if I remember correctly?

        • jw

          That’s a stretch, Paul.

          (See Nielsen report I posted below.)

    • Anonymous

      Let’s not go overboard, eh…

      Radio was great back in the day because exposure was so hard to come by.

      But times have changed, and radio belongs to the past.

    • DotDraper

      Something kinda empty meaningless about ‘anonymous’ criticizing radio.

      My opinion? Radio is still great exposure for bands, although the majority of stations tend to focus on the same key players. Hello, Maroon 5 and Pharrell’s “Happy”. Applause to the stations that dig deeper and still make an effort to serve the listener.

  3. TuneHunter

    If you add Pandora, XM and hypothetically Spotify as a Radio you got 80% of listening and DISCOVERY!

    LET’S CONVERT RADIO TO DISCOVERY MOMENT based music store, easy and profitable to all. We must hire all music ID guys as a cashiers. Fire purposeless VEEVOOO and make YouTube the $50 hub of $100B Music Industry.

  4. jw

    Hey Paul,

    Nielsen released a study on this just two days ago. http://www.nielsen.com

    According to Nielsen, Information Seeking Loyalists represent 15% of the radio listening public, but 25% of all listening hours. These figures don’t break listening down into formats, but due to the relatively small influence of podcasts & SiriusXM, I think we can say for argument’s sake that the music listened to on talk radio is less than 40%, give or take a few percentage points. And that’s not even factoring in Convenience Seeking Traditionalists, who account for 16% of all audio listening hours & are loyal to specific radio hosts, & Background Driving Defaulters, who represent 7% of listening hours & occasionally tune in for news & information. Ultimately, AM/FM MUSIC listening is probably in the mid-to-upper 30s of all audio consumption.

  5. kf

    Most people commute 1-4 hours a day with the radio on. It’s always been the case. I’m constantly tuning to try and find something stimulating. Usually I wind up listening to talk radio because there’s too many commercials.

  6. R.P.


    pure comedy.

    Paul gets paid by itunes (spotify hater) and clear channel to come up with these things. -_-

  7. Radio DJ/Programmer

    I am on the air. I have been in radio since 1978. I also own an internet based radio station. I have also served on the board of directors for a radio station. I have worked both non-comm and commercial based stations. I have not ever worked talk radio personally, but have worked for AM/FM stations that offer both music and talk formats.

    To some of you I am the enemy. To those whose music I care to add to my program, I am a hero. I don’t care either way to be honest.

    Depending on where you live, talk MAY be the dominant format of choice in certain demographics. Don’t confuse the audio seekers in the Nielsen report with the Arbitron PPM measurements. Here’s a link to the most recent Denver numbers http://ratings.radio-online.com/cgi-bin/rol.exe/arb035 where the powerhouse KOA radio (news/talk) came in 13th 12+ AQH.

    Radio pays songwriter/publisher royalties. Radio does not pay performer (musician) royalties, unless they stream their programming online, then they have to pay SoundExchange rates.

    My show is on numerous stations in even more numerous markets. No one tells me what to program.

    In study after study over my career, radio is the dominant form of information and entertainment technology used in the car.

    Here is an excellent information resource for anyone interested. http://menu.radio-online.com/cgi-bin/rolmenu.exe/menu

    There are too many myths and too much misinformation out there about radio — and some of you guys think any of us IN RADIO are liars and cheats. I can’t help you. Sorry. You will believe what you want, regardless of what any working pros have to say.

  8. Youtube

    Isn’t it Youtube the “most listened source”?

  9. Radio DJ/Programmer

    Isn’t it Youtube the “most listened source”?

    YouTube is not an “audio” source. It is a “video” source. It is the #1 music discovery vehicle. When considering audio only, AM/FM radio is still #1 because it is in dash. AM/FM is ubiquitous. Sirius and Pandora are not. AM/FM is free to use by the consumer. Sirius is not.

    • wallow-T

      AM/FM is ubiquitous.

      So were newspapers. :-)

      “Nobody really loves us, but we’re the default model because we own the distribution” has been a business-model recipe for debacle in the last 15 years.

  10. Ivan

    I have a CD that has a bunch of well-crafted songs that are deserving of becoming mainstream music in the hearts and minds of lovers of good American music. Unless I spend a huge amount of my own money, my personal promotions have limited reach. I recently got some air time on a syndicated radio program, and a call from a Long Island radio station program director saying one of my songs will be given regular rotation for 14 weeks. Yes, it’s promotion, and so is playing my songs myself during one of my live gigs. Promotion is not the point. Getting paid is! With the addition of non-terrestrial forms of broadcasting, these new digital industries are making a lot of money using author’s material without fair compensation. The imbalance between regular terrestrial radio and the new technologies for delivering music, and how authors and performers are compensated is what needs to be straightened out. Thank you to any kind of radio station or online download or streaming service who puts my music into the public’s ear. Just give me fair compensation.

    • SkiFi

      yes that is the point if you are not a superstar palyed on MTV you can´t earn money from music .. you are just being used to earn money for someone else .. artist is the last on the pay bill .. actually he alone many times has to pay instead of being paid

  11. SkiFi

    52% but playes like 20 songs a year .. reapeating them all in 24 hours … It would be great if radios played also local, samll, new, unknown, many times 25000x better music ..instead all people hanging on radio get is pure crap.. the worst music in human history reapeated by hour day by day..

    and the rest of the media is playing like 99,999% of the other music .. the less audience the better quality …

  12. RealHIPHOP

    Radio stations receive millions to play music. Thats why you hear the same 15 songs over and over, the record labels pay the stations to have their songs in that rotation and they pay a lot

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