Video Killed the Radio Star. Will Pandora Kill the Radio Station?

Posted by Kate , Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A recent research study* shows that AM/FM radio is still the number one way that people discover new music. Even though streaming audio formats like Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes Radio are becoming more and more popular, the majority of people are still favoring radio, in their homes and cars. Seriously, folks? Stop it. Streaming radio is far superior to FM radio. You can listen to what you want when you want it, not just switch between presets, hoping to get lucky and ending up hearing only the last 40 seconds of a favorite song.

I recently bought a used car. It was an upgrade to my previous vehicle in all areas…except the stereo. The old car had an aftermarket car stereo with a front audio input. Every time I got in it I would connect my iPhone and listen to either my downloaded music or one of my favorite Pandora stations. The only times the radio got used was when my bratty teenager was on-board, or there was a Bruins game on. I never had to suffer through commercials or the same loop of songs over-and-over. Life was good. Or, at least, the music was.

In my new car, sadly, there is no input for my iPhone. My choices are radio or cassette (really?). Growing up in Boston, I was exposed to all sorts of great music thanks to locally-run and staffed FM stations like WBCN and WFNX. They were always playing cool and interesting songs and turning me on to new artists and bands. But today, as big conglomerates like Clear Channel Media take over the airwaves, the radio stations seem to get more similar, boring and “vanilla”every day. They all play the same assortment of songs, often in the same order, and I swear they all run commercials at the same time. Why people opt for this music format, when there are so many other options, is beyond me. The research study shows that 50% of smartphone users have downloaded Pandora and 83% of 12-24 year olds prefer Youtube for discovering new music so maybe there is hope. The connected car is already here, with more than one-quarter of cell phone owners plugging their phones into their cars. Very soon I will upgrade the stereo in my car, be able to listen to what I want, when I want it and life will once again be good. Or, at least, the music will…



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