A New World in Music Discovery

More people discover new music by listening to radio than any other way, according to Jupiter Research and published by Inside Radio. That’s why some Radio Executives were pretty fired up at the Grammy Nominations show which presented the Internet as music discovery’s new vehicle, according to RAIN, here.

There is no doubt that the Internet has changed music discovery, and who can blame the Grammys for wanting to acknowledge that? Whereas there used to be just one way to get new music – radio – now there are alternatives online. They’d be foolish to ignore the clout of MySpace in new music discovery, for example. MySpace streamed a billion songs in a few days after their launch, and musicians all use it to promote their music.

A recent article in the New York Times about college radio notes that college stations used to be a main source of new music and “courted attentively by major record labels.”  That’s not so true today, as college age kids spend less time with radio. “Hard numbers about ratings for campus radio are scarce, but trends show that the college-age audience pays less attention to radio every year. From 1998 to 2007 the amount of time 18- to 24-year-olds spend listening dropped 18 percent, while for people 35 to 64 it slipped 9 percent, according to the Arbitron ratings service.” To reach new audiences, many college stations are streaming online, blogging about new music, and cultivating web sites, and their audiences are expanding beyond the campus.

The Grammys were right – it’s a new digital world that has changed everything about the music industry. Radio is not the only channel for new music discovery. Understanding rather than ignoring that will be radio’s key to success as our new media world evolves.

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