Music Business

Streaming creates hype, but radio still drives engagement says a new study

A new study from the team at analytics platform Vibrate suggests that while streaming creates hype, radio is still better at driving long-term engagement.

Vibrate analyzed 24,000 radio stations in 150 countries and dug deep into Spotify to learn which were June 2021’s most played artists.

The study found key differences.

Viberate analyzed the 100 most-streamed artists on Spotify and compared them to the 100 artists with the most radio airplay.

Streaming prefers “junior” artists with careers under 15 years. While radio is friendlier to more established artists.

64 % of the 100 most-spinned artists on radio have been in the business longer than 15 years compared to 80 % of the 100 most-streamed having emerged in recent years.

As examples, Olivia Rodrigo, Bad Bunny, and Rauw Alejandro were among the most-streamed artists on Spotify in June, while Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, and The Weeknd claimed the top 3 radio spins worldwide.

Pop vs. Hip Hop

Pop and Rock represented 75 % of all radio spins worldwide (Pop alone had 42 %), and Electronic took third place. On Spotify, Hip Hop amassed 38 % of the top 100 streams, followed by Pop (27 %) and Latin (18 %).

Long-term fan interest

The five most-streamed artists each secured between 437M and 1B monthly streams, and their average monthly royalty payout was estimated at $687.5k.

The 100 artists with the most radio airplay saw an average of 154k monthly radio spins, suggesting that radio holds a role at the tail end of the consumption curve, encouraging long-term listenership and sales.

More findings are available in the free Vibrate report that you can download here.

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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  1. Radio is missing out on a tremendous opportunity with streaming. Adding video to radio (instead of using audio content, a station uses audiovisual content: the audio is broadcast on the transmitter while simultaneously the audiovisual is streamed on the station’s website) allows the station to sell more valuable audiovisual ads and introduce product placement (i.e., Howard Stern and Snapple). And yes, there’s a patent on this.

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