Radio remains the top source of music discovery


Television is emerging as a more important media outlet for music discovery, particularly among casual music fans, but for the most dedicated music lovers and buyers, radio is still the top place to find what’s new. The study was performed by the NPD Group for the National Association of Recording Merchandisers.

Social media, websites, movies and word of mouth are all factors, and some people still discover new music by visiting a brick and mortar retail store. But among active consumers, radio was the top discovery source with 60% of the most active rating it as their number one venue.

The study noted the emergence of new sources, but the surveyors stated that despite this trend, “radio and TV were the clear-cut top traditional choices for music discovery.”

However, radio remains a primary source of discovery among the most active buyers.

Like everything else in the Internet Age, the recording retail business is in a state of flux.

But radio’s key role lives on. Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of The NPD Group, said, “On one hand you have fans who can’t find enough ways to learn about new music, whether it’s at retail, through apps and social networks, or on radio and TV. On the other hand there is still a large core group who learns by listening to AM/FM radio and on family shopping trips. Regardless of the type of music fan, there are actions the industry can take to improve the discovery process, and help drive revenue.”

Radio could be more useful, however, noted Jim Donio, president of NARM. “We have identified several areas where we believe we can move the needle and convert that discovery to a retail experience of some kind. For example, people hear music they like, but because of lack of identification, they don’t learn the artist’s name or the song title, so they cannot seek out that track again – more promotion of song recognition apps and stressing the importance of back announcing could go a long way to improve that situation.”

The study divided consumers into five groups, and the three most likely to pay for music were also the most likely to use radio for discovery.

Here is how the study described each group:

* “Committed” consumers also account for 46 percent of per-capita spending on music, and they are the most engaged consumers in the report. While they use a variety of discovery sources – including radio, video, streaming, and movies – they also value ownership, and they are the most open to discovering new artists. They find their current means to discover new music is good, but still wonder if they are missing something.

* “Converts,” who make up 30 percent of musically active consumers and account for 34 percent of per-capita spending, are the second youngest group, with a mean age of 34 (13 percent teens; 23 percent are 18 to 25 years old). They also listen to music in a variety of ways and are more likely than the average consumer to purchase CDs or digital downloads. They are generally satisfied with their means of music discovery, but they would still consider other options.

* Those in the “Comfortable” group make up 30 percent of musically active consumers and account for 15 percent of per-capita spending on music. With a mean age of 50, they are considered the mainstream segment. These individuals mostly listen to music on CD or on AM/FM radio, and they prefer to discover new music from familiar artists. They also rely primarily on television and radio to find new music, and they feel those methods are adequate for their needs; they are not interested in new ways to discover music.

* “Casual” listeners, who make up 14 percent of musically active listeners and account for 3 percent of per-capita music spending, have a mean age of 43. They are also lighter listeners than average, they rarely buy music, and they have low interest in digital sources and discovery.

* The “Content” group, which make up 11 percent of musically active consumers and account for 2 percent of per-capita music spending, have a mean age of 55. They are the lightest buyers and listeners, and while they periodically buy CDs, they do not find current music engaging.