There’s a view being put about that on-demand music-streaming services will ultimately kill radio – admittedly, it’s being put about mainly by on-demand music-streaming services for now. What do radio moguls think about it all?
Bob Pittman, CEO of iHeartMedia, has been offering a counter-view. “Between 70 and 80 percent of Spotify users say the main way they discover music is FM Radio,” he told NBC. “In the old days we’d hear it on the radio and buy a CD or a download. Now you hear it on the radio and you put it on your Spotify playlist. They’re the most important part of the music collection sector, and we are the most important part of the radio sector. The number of people we reach eclipses their reach in the United States by a mile.” That’s punchy talk, but Pittman backed up his claim with figures: “There are 275 million people listening to us and maybe 80 million to Spotify. It’s not even half yet.” The figures are, naturally, somewhat self-serving. Comparing radio’s 275 million listeners to, say, the 165 million Americans using music-streaming services at the end of 2018 (per MusicWatch) and the competition between the two mediums looks spicier. Still: “If you look in the car, the streaming services all combined are probably a little below CDs. We keep it in perspective,” said Pittman.
He also claimed that radio is outgunning streaming services for usage on smart speakers. “The number one use is AM/FM radio, and number two is check the weather, number three is a reminder, and then we get down to the streaming music services.”