Originally Published August 30, 2017
UPDATED: A new study published today by the head of New York University’s Steinhart Music Business Program casts a sobering outlook on the future of terrestrial radio. (Not surprisingly, the National Association of Broadcasters and Nielsen responded to the report; see their responses here.)
In the 30-page report, Larry Miller argues that traditional radio has failed to engage with Generation Z — people born after 1995 — and that its influence and relevance will continue to be subsumed by digital services unless it upgrades. Key points made in the study include:
*Generation Z, which is projected to account for 40% of all consumers in the U.S. by 2020, shows little interest in traditional media, including radio, having grown up in an on-demand digital environment;
*AM/FM radio is in the midst of a massive drop-off as a music-discovery tool by younger generations, with self-reported listening to AM/FM radio among teens aged 13 and up declining by almost 50 percentage points between 2005 and 2016. Music discovery as a whole is moving away from AM/FM radio and toward YouTube, Spotify and Pandora, especially among younger listeners, with 19% of a 2017 study of surveyed listeners citing it as a source for keeping up-to-date with music — down from 28% the previous year. Among 12-24 year olds who find music discovery important, AM/FM radio (50%) becomes even less influential, trailing YouTube (80%), Spotify (59%), and Pandora (53%).