Teens choosing online radio services over AM-FM


iHeart RadioWhile terrestrial radio is still quite popular and continues to grow, Pandora and other free subscription-based Internet radio services are quickly gaining eardrums, especially among younger listeners, according to new data from NPD Group. NPD’s “Music Acquisition Monitor” was based on data from 7,600 NPD consumer surveys. Survey data was weighted to represent U.S. population of Internet users (age 13+).

During Q4 2012, Internet radio services accounted for 23% of the average weekly music listening time among users between the ages of 13-35, an increase of 17% over Q4 2011. Now, six out of 10 teens and young adults (aged 13-35) said they are more often turning to streaming music services now than in the past.

Terrestrial radio accounted for 24% of music listening time in Q4, a drop of 2 percentage points since Q4 2011.

In the 36+ group, by contrast, Internet radio accounted for just 13% of music listening, while AM-FM radio dominated listening methods with a 41% share. 51% reported that most of their music listening was in their cars.

“Driven by mobility and connectivity, music-streaming services are rapidly growing their share of the music listening experience for teens and young adults, at the expense of traditional music listening methods,” said Russ Crupnick, SVP of industry analysis at NPD.

As listening to music on mobile devices increases, NPD’s “Music Acquisition Monitor” also reported a decline in consumers listening to CDs and digital music files. In fact, more than half of Pandora and iHeartRadio users used their mobile phone to access those services. Roughly one in five Pandora or iHeartRadio users are also currently connecting to those services in their cars, which has in the past typically been the bastion of AM/FM radio listening.

Among music listeners between the ages of 13-35, Pandora has a significant lead in terms of usage:

Streaming Music Usage
(Age 13-35, Q412)
 % Using
Pandora (free version) 39%
iHeartRadio 11%
Spotify (free version) 9%
Grooveshark 3%
Slacker 2%
Pandora One 2%
TuneIn 2%
Last.fm 2%
Xbox Music 2%


RBR-TVBR observation: Let’s face it—a lot of these numbers represent terrestrial radio streaming of Clear Channel, Cumulus and other groups’ stations via iHeartRadio, so traditional radio is just getting listened to via the new transistor radio—the smartphone. Clear Channel’s constant hyping of iHeartRadio over its terrestrial stations certainly worked.