Apart from maybe print-based newspapers, radio has proven itself to be one of the most resilient medias in the world. Despite many predicting its decline as far back as the advent of TV more than 70 years ago, and again during the dawn of the Internet, radio is still proving itself as one of the most used medias in the world, with more than 89% of us still tuning in to at least one radio station for more than an hour every week. But new research into our use of streaming services is showing us that not only is our use of these services on the rise, but is now beginning to chip away in the corner of the market that has been saving many radio stations for decades.
The main reason why radio has managed to keep itself afloat as a format over the years is down to car radio listening. The vast majority of us will only ever listen to the radio when we are driving, as it provides us with not only entertainment and music for our commutes, but does so without any prompt, keeping us less detracted behind the wheel. But over the last few years, there has been a lot of investment to give newer cars their own internet connections. Couple this with the ever-expanding speeds of the country's 4G network and we now have a generation of drivers who can connect to the internet wherever they go, causing more and more of us to opt for streaming services while we drive.
In a survey conducted by ReportLinker, 63% of drivers now listen to music via a streaming service while in the car, with 90% of the use coming from smart phone devices. This has meant that the car is now the second most popular location for us to listen to streaming services, behind in our homes. As a result, car companies such as Tesla have now begun to organise and set-up their own streaming services to be directly installed into their new cars, almost entirely cutting out the need for a radio.
But while this move may sound worrying for those in the radio industry, the music industry is actually not as concerned as you might think. After all, the top target for many record labels is to hear their latest release being pumped out of every radio station in the land, transferring their promotion into profits. But it turns out that our use of streaming services is actually aiding the sale of new music. The same research showed that those that use a streaming service when listening to music are actually 11% more likely to still buy and download music than those that don't, showing that listening through a streaming service is more beneficial to records labels than only listening to the radio.
And while streaming services still come with a stigma attached to them, regarding their poor royalties payments to artists, in the long haul we could see them become the most widely sourced avenue in which we experience new music. But this still may not be the end of radio as we know it. Many companies like Apple have attempted to merge the two, creating a radio station, Beats 1, to be streamed exclusively through their own Apple Music service, which so far has proven to be extremely successful for them.
So while the format of a radio simply being a place for stations to beam out their transmissions could soon be replaced, the idea of these station anchoring themselves to a streaming service could soon become the norm for our daily road trips. Radio will probably never die out completely, but if it is to survive this wave of newer technology, evolving its place in our lives could be the only way it can.