Bridge Ratings finds streaming chips away at radio’s devoted listener base

Bridge Ratings has posted an update to its New Media Gauntlet study, which reflects listener trends across different media. The latest results showed that although radio’s weekly cume has been relatively stable over time, it has been declining in how many people dub it their favorite listening choice. Streaming, on the other hand, has been rising in “favoriteness,” which Bridge said is chipping away at the numbers for both radio and downloads.

In 2017, music streaming was named the favorite source for 30% of respondents, compared with 8% in 2007. Other outlets that have posted big jumps over the decade are satellite radio (from 3% to 8%), social networks (from 9% to 16%), and podcasts (from 1% to 6%). On the other hand, owned music, Internet radio, and music downloads all had higher rates of favoriteness in 2007 than they did in 2017.

The Bridge Ratings update added data from a panel of 4,020 people aged 12 and up. The participants all listened to both broadcast radio and internet radio for at least 30 minutes a week each. They also downloaded music and streamed music on smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers.

Anna Washenko


  1. What is missing from this analysis is free vs. subscription. Because in my opinion, what’s driving usage in 2017 is free music vs. pay music. That’s why there’s such a huge drop in downloading. Why buy when you can hear the song endlessly for free?
    To me the loss for internet radio is caused by the changes in the music royalty law that saw so many internet stations go dark.
    Streaming is the new cassette. Nobody is streaming for DJs or information. They’re streaming for songs, in the same way that they used their owned music. But since fewer people own music, and fewer people download music, all of those people and a few more are going to streaming. As long as there’s a free option, that’s where people will go.

  2. Speaking of streaming, I was reading recently on the Stream Licensing forum that their agreement with ASCAP has expired.

  3. Also, from what I’ve heard from a Radionomy station I listen to, because of some argument with performance rights organizations, listening has been restricted in the U.S. to website-only. iTunes is the only external player that works for now.

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