RAIN 4/25: New study shows Internet radio "no longer a trend, it's a behavior"

Michael Schmitt
April 25, 2012 - 12:05pm

Eyal Goldwerger at RAIN Summit West 2012Listening to Internet radio is "no longer a trend, it's a behavior," said TargetSpot CEO Eyal Goldwerger at RAIN Summit West 2012. That behavior spans a range of devices, listening locations, and listening sources.

Goldwerger presented a preview of TargetSpot’s Digital Audio trending study, set for release in early May, at RAIN's conference in Las Vegas earlier this month.

He revealed that 42% of the U.S. population listens to Internet radio, a growth of 8% over last year. Listeners said they enjoy web radio because it plays "music I want to hear," offers fewer commercials, "better music selection" and "more control," Goldwerger explained.

Listeners are tuning in to Internet radio on an increasingly wide variety of devices, and in different locations. Goldwerger revealed that 44% of listeners say they primarily listen on a tablet, 44% on a computer and 38% on a smartphone. 77% listen on home computers, while 53% listen on work computer.

Interestingly, a large number of web radio listeners change channels and services throughout the day. Around 3 in 4 listeners change stations within the same service at least once a day, while 64% change services at least once daily (like switching from Pandora to Slacker).

Internet radio's audience is "valuable and desirable," said Goldwerger. TargetSpot found that 42% of listeners have kids, 22% live in households with $100,000+ incomes and 64% own their own home. And 67% of listeners "often look at the player" to see currently playing artist information.  Around 80% of listeners tune in for 1-3 hours per day, while 40% listen to 1-2 hours per listening session. 

TargetSpotGoldwerger said that 65% of web radio listeners spend at least the same amount of time listening to AM/FM radio as the did before. But among 18-24 year-olds, 47% are spending less time with AM/FM radio. "If that’s a predictor of how that demo is going to behave as they get older, that’s something to watch," commented Tom Taylor of Radio-Info. Additionally, 57% of web radio music listeners said they prefer listening to Internet radio (compared to 26% who prefer AM/FM radio).

"Digital audio is firmly established," concluded Goldwerger. "Listeners remain highly engaged" and new devices are driving "increased listening."

More coverage of Goldwerger's presentation can be found in Audio4Cast here and Radio-Info here.

Paul Maloney
April 25, 2012 - 12:05pm

PandoraMedia researcher Mark Kassof today published results of a recent survey he took of adult (18-64) Pandora listeners. In a nutshell, he asked these listeners to score various music experiences on a "1-to-5" scale on how similar or different they were from Pandora (these included Clear Channel's iHeartRadio Internet radio service, the on-demand Spotify service, SiriusXM satellite radio, iPod/mp3 listening, FM radio, compact discs, and YouTube).

Of the nearly 1,200 Pandora listeners in the survey, 95% of them had an opinion when it came to Pandora vs. FM radio. Of that group, nearly half (49%) scored the difference as a "1" or a "2" (a "1" means "totally different").

So, we're at about 548 Pandora listeners now -- all of whom perceive a significant difference between Pandora and FM radio. Kasof asked them, "In what way or ways is FM radio different than Pandora?" By far, the most popular responses (besides "Other" which Kasof said was 30%) were "Not as much choice in listening" (31%) and "More/too many commercials" (26%). No other response scored higher than 8%, most were about 4%.

So, Pandora listeners say the significant differences between the service and FM is "choice" (select genre, choose artists, skip songs, etc.) and spot load. Surprise, right? Naturally, these differences -- perceived as negative -- made a majority of these Pandora listeners regard FM radio as "worse to listen to" than Pandora. Again, no big surprise. (Actually, only 76% said these differences made FM radio worse... 11% said these differences made FM radio better! Wha?)

Nevertheless, most of FM’s differences are clearly negative for these Pandora listeners (we are talking to Pandora listeners, after all).

Here we want to point to Kassof's conclusion:

"They think FM is either totally different or very different. They represent nearly half of Pandora listeners. They overwhelmingly think Pandora is better.

"So, Pandora may not be radio, but that doesn’t make it any less of a challenge to radio. "The question is: How does radio meet this challenge?"

So there it is. Call Pandora "radio," call it a "soulless celestial jukebox/playlist generator," call it a "ham sandwich." It doesn't matter. If it's a rival station, a new online service, or a small white rectangle in your pocket that radio is now competing against for listeners, radio needs to address it. Listeners certainly aren't concerned whether Pandora is "radio" or not.

Read Mark Kassof's blog post here.

Michael Schmitt
April 25, 2012 - 12:05pm

Pandora localThe results of a new poll from The Media Audit prompts The L.A. Times to ask, "Pandora: The no. 1 radio station in Los Angeles?"

The survey estimates that 1.9 million people in L.A. listened to Pandora between September and October 2011. The #2-ranked radio station, KIIS-FM, attracted 1.4 million listeners, according to the poll.

We already knew Pandora was more popular than local L.A. stations among 18-34s, thanks to ratings from Pandora and Edison (example report from RAIN here). The L.A. Times doesn't state which demo The Media Audit's poll focused on, just that the company spoke with "54,000 adults."

"The results dovetailed with Pandora's current efforts to launch advertising sales teams in local markets, including one this week in Los Angeles," writes The L.A. Times (here).The New York Times recently spotlighted Pandora's efforts to attract local advertisers. It wrote then that Pandora's "path to profitability" may be "through car dealerships and mattress shops" (RAIN coverage here).

The Media Audit's Phillip Beswick presented more research about Internet radio at RAIN Summit West 2012 earlier this month (RAIN coverage here).

Michael Schmitt
April 25, 2012 - 12:05pm

Microsoft's Woodstock serviceMicrosoft may announce a new streaming music service tied to its Xbox platform at the E3 conference in June, The Verge reports. Codenamed "Woodstock," the service is said to be "Spotify-like" and will be available on Windows 8 devices, Android, iOS, Xbox and web browsers.

The Verge writes that the service is not expected to launch until later this year, possibly alongside Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system and Windows Phone 8 devices.

You can find more coverage from The Verge here.