James Cridland’s Future of Radio: How Spotify works, and radio listening in Switzerland

James Cridland, the radio futurologist, is a conference speaker, writer and consultant. He runs the media information website media.info and helps organise the yearly Next Radio conference. He also publishes podnews.net, a daily briefing on podcasting and on-demand, and writes a weekly international radio trends newsletter, at james.crid.land.

James Cridland’s articles

North America

United Kingdom

  • After seeing this tweet, I thought that television in UK was dying rapidly. Of course, it’s actually a) a very dodgy scale – the maximum decline is only 15% – and also b) actually relates to watching the television on the television, i.e. the large amount of watching TV programmes on mobiles or tablets aren’t counted. A good reminder for me to always make sure it’s clear, on every slide, what the data actually is: so even if you share it out of context it’s clear.
  • Digital Radio UK have done lots of usability studies on how to make decent DAB radios, and have published some recommendations.
  • Student Radio Nominees Get Upload Radio Shows – neat idea. Back in the days of the Sonys, I was always very keen to get the entries available for everyone to listen to.
  • 37 million Brits tune into YouTube across July – some interesting metrics in this post. Am I alone in thinking that is surprisingly small? Yet, 311 videos is the average number watched. I wonder how much of that is music videos, as a free version of Spotify?
  • Smart Speakers, 5G and #onelovemanchester: Radio TechCon’s full programme unveiled. A very good conference for radio technologists.


  • Data: In Switzerland, 32% of radio is consumed via DAB, and 21% is via internet. (UK: 35% DAB, 8% internet). The Swiss use a watch to monitor radio listening (but of course they do). It uses audio matching, rather than audio watermarks, because of the high amount of non-Swiss radio stations listened-to in the market. I asked how the watch measures headphone listening, and was rather derided by others at the conference for doing so (I suspect they’re a bit bored by it), but the answer is that they don’t bother: it’s a small amount of listening and it’s too complicated to do so. I also asked where the watch was made. Switzerland, obviously.
  • The benefits of diaries for radio measurement according to radio researchers. This talk contained some quite interesting information about the different data you get if you ask people to fill out that diary in paper or online – there are differences. (The UK, incidentally, is about 50% online).
  • EBU Storyboard brings radio to social: a nice tool. (Whisper it: if this has been funded by European public broadcasters, it might be nice to make the tool public, too, given they’ve paid for it)
  • The Q&A session from the CRA’s Radio Alive conference in Australia. One of the highlights, this, including the Minister of Comms, Mitch Fifield.

James Cridland