Dave Van Dyke: Radio complements streaming in new study

Dave van Dyke, President of Bridge Ratings, posted a summary of a new study which surveyed listeners to find how much overlap exists between music they stream, and music they hear on the radio. The results vary by type of radio station, and reveal complementary use of the two listening realms.

In a phone conversation with RAIN News, Dave Van Dyke said that in his ongoing research into how listeners use both radio and streaming, over 85% of the population (aged 12 and over) uses both. “There’s a significant portion of the population that finds radio to be a good companion,” Van Dyke said.

“Radio gives consumers a perspective on the best songs as available,” he noted. “There is also some music discovery, including hits that people haven’t heard before.”

The study focused on three radio programming categories — Top 40 (CHR), Country, and Classic Rock. For the first two, Bridge looked at playlists in a top 10 market, and in a #20-#40 market. One Classic Rock station was included.

For each of those five research buckets, Bridge compared radio playlists with survey results of which songs the respondents picked in streaming services, resulting in an interesting overlap chart:

bridge radio vs streaming overlap chart

The CHR radio playlists exhibit small overlap with listeners’ streaming choices, which Dave van Dyke sensibly attributes to short playlists deployed by those stations. Same with Country stations: “Country radio very much mirrors the mechanics of Top 40 radio by being very selective in their playlists and thus play similar sized lists as their Top 40 brethren,” he said.

The Classic Rock comparison shows much more overlap (37%). Classic Rock stations play music from a larger library, and repeat songs less often.

What does this research say about what motivates listeners to use radio or streaming? Bridge Ratings looked into that issue. Over 60% of respondents said that AM/FM radio helps them make streaming choices, but fewer than 40% said that it was an “important” factor. Dave Van Dyke noted, “Radio helps them determine what they would like to stream. It’s a very interesting relationship. They have different reasons for using radio, and they use streaming to complement the music they’ve experience on radio, and perhaps to expand on it.

The best part of it all is that consuming music takes a larger portion of people’s time. I think that’s a good thing. –Dave Van Dyke, President, Bridge Ratings Media Research

Over 80% said they used streaming to play songs they already know, and over 60% use streaming to discover new songs.

Brad Hill