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The party line on whether on-demand streaming music cannibalises radio is that they’re complementary, but is that really the case? BBC Radio director Helen Boaden has given a speech admitting that there is competition too, particularly for younger listeners.

“Where once it was a straight choice between radio and television, there’s now Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, Tune In, Twitter, online and offline gaming and any number of catch-up services and aggregators,” she told the Radio Festival in Salford, according to Music Week.

“Take Spotify as a case in point. In the past year it has seen its users rise by 70% to 24m monthly users and 6m paying subscribers worldwide. It’s still not making money and you still don’t own the music you listen to on it, but it is slowly gaining ground, especially with the more affluent young. Figures suggest that in the UK around 6% of adults who have smartphones use Spotify and that percentage more than doubles among 16 to 24 year olds.”

As we reported last week, though, the Beeb is working with Spotify (as well as Deezer and YouTube) on its new Playlister service, making these companies partners rather than enemies.

Meanwhile, its iPlayer Radio app continues to find an audience of smartphone listeners, while plans to turn its youth-focused Radio 1 station into “a full audio-visual channel” within the main iPlayer service are also an attempt to evolve alongside changing media habits of 16-24 year-olds.

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