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Young people turned off by radio and albums, research finds

By | Published on Wednesday 6 September 2017

Music Applications

Research firm AudienceNet has published its annual Audiomonitor report into music consumption in the UK. Unsurprisingly, it shows significant differences between younger and older people in terms of where they are primarily consuming their tunes, while also confirming challenges facing the radio sector and the decline in full album listening.

The study found that broadcast radio remains the most popular forum for consuming music overall, but The Kids (or the 16-24 demographic, to given them their formal title) aren’t listening to the radio for as long as older people because they don’t find it engaging. The young folk are unsurprisingly listening to on-demand streaming services most of all, and while they do listen to the odd full album on such platforms, they are more likely to press play on a playlist.

The study of just over 3000 people in the UK found that radio via AM, FM and DAB accounted for just 10% of young people’s overall listening time. This is much less than the overall national average of 43%. Optimists in the radio sector might argue that that’s because people want more passive listening experiences as they age. Pessimists might wonder if it means the radio sector just lost an entire generation of listeners.

In a debate over the future of radio and the impact of streaming on the medium at the CMU Insights Media Conference earlier this year, a panel of radio people agreed that there was now more competition for people’s attention. However, they were generally optimistic that radio still had a key role to play, though they did acknowledge the need for radio outfits to engage younger audiences via a range of platforms, in addition to the core radio station itself.

Away from the radio chatter, AudienceNet’s research also compared listening on Spotify and YouTube, finding that Spotify is the more popular of the two in terms of listening hours. Among 16-19 year olds, over half of their music listening takes place on Spotify. YouTube reached significantly more people, but held their attention for a much shorter period of time.