In 2018, music streaming made up 75 percent of the music industry’s revenue, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s report. Music has become a key part of our lives and its many brain-boosting benefits have been highlighted ranging from our childhood to even our fitness routines. In a world where technology and free access to the worldwide internet reign supreme, the way we access our music and media services have forever been changed; and so has the place of radio in it all. With streaming and downloads taking the lead in digital music, we wonder: where does radio fit in in the digital age of music? Is there a place for it anymore? So far, radio has proved to be quite resilient in the wave of technological changes but can it how can radio find its place going forward? We say yes but the definition of that spot may need to be redefined.
Start With Redefining The Markets
Traditional radio was first viewed as one of the most effective advertising mediums there was. It promoted new music, artists and also the brands sponsoring them. This proved successful if operated on a very similar premise of marketing; knowing your audience and playing to their needs and wants. Today, generation Z will make up 40 percent of the population by next year. They also grow up in a digitally led environment, starting from their childhood habits (think tablet led learning). Therefore it comes as no surprise that they have no interest in traditional radio. If anything, to them it is viewed as more of a novelty.
The Key To Survival? Integration- Starting With IOT
The best way to ensure radio stays relevant is to adapt with the changing times and that means collaborations and partnerships. The Internet of Things is the newest technological tide to be transforming our lives, from purchase habits to our homes. Interestingly, digital radio has seized the largest market and opportunity from traditional radio: our cars. Americans spend an average of 293 hours driving each year, making it the perfect opportunity for radio. While there remains a place for radios with wavelengths between 1.5MHz to 30MHz in not just AM/FM listening but also remote communications, there is no denying that digital radio is here to stay. Yet, by 2020 almost 20 percent of the cars are expected to be connected cars; boosting the use of digital radio.
However, there are some users that still want AM/FM radio to be present and the key lies in identifying opportunities for seamless integration such as the first-time introduction of new tracks on radio and partnerships for the discovery of tracks. Another opportunity lies in the introduction of new artists and the discovery of new talent before it gains steam to be downloaded or streamed. Gone are the days where banner ads are the go-to advertising medium for businesses. Therefore the sooner those in radio realize that their survival lies offering a transition point between traditional analog and digital radio platforms. In some countries such as the UK, 89 percent of the population still listen to the radio weekly. However key markets including the 15-24-year-old age bracket will prove to be some of the more important markets in its integration process.
In the end, the introduction of digital audio and IP services should not be seen as a threat to digital radio but rather approached as an opportunity for progress and more importantly, a chance to work together. The landscape of the industry may have changed but it has not necessarily meant the disappearance of radio. Instead, it is more akin to a realignment of different mediums and their services to the public.