What about downloads, how will they perform by 2020 ? Pretty badly. They will be gone for good. Let’s be real: nobody care about owning a digital file. Now that streaming platforms enable to store songs locally, there is absolutely no reason for downloads to survive except as a sub-functionality of streaming. The brutality of download sales drops faced since iTunes started its streaming service – about 25% versus one year ago – definitely sustain this destiny.
With a catalog of 30 million songs available 24/7, the relevance of radios is doubted. We still need to keep in mind that in a streaming model, we still have to select what we want to listen to. Radios segment is precisely that one: selecting something to listen instead of us, enabling people to discover new acts. Obviously, the playlists system available on streaming platforms fulfil this role but not completely as they are not as well-known as radios and they are often too specialized to interest casual listener.
Main channel for listening music among teens is Youtube, used by 64% of them, nevertheless radio still way ahead as the best place for discovering. More precisely, 48% of the times we hear a song for the first time, we do so in radio, remaining cases are much lower as only 10% of the time the discovery happens thanks to a friend’s advice and a mere 7% of discoveries are done thanks to Youtube.
The number of ways to listen to music is so big it seems obvious that radio audiences is going down down. In reality, airplay has never been so high, breaking records every year. Nowadays, almost 70% of Americans listen to radio every day. Nearly 240 million per week. Even more impressive, adults spend an average 20% more time listening to radio than being on internet! How can we explain it giving the current fierce competition? Simply because the cake is bigger as we listen more music now than ever.
Even so, like TV channels do, general radios will start losing ground in favor to more specialized radios to better fit with consumer’s profile. Although we like hearing new songs, we still expect them to be consistent with our favorite genres.