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April 13, 2012

Online Radio: Why it's Growing So Fast

By Kayvon Ghoreshi, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Most types of media have moved online. For example, most newspapers now have their own websites as well as online versions of their published work. Many also have versions that are optimized for smartphones and tablets. Radio also began this shift with services like Pandora (News - Alert), which bring radio online. Most stations nowadays are also letting visitors listen to their programs online.

So with the content online, how have people responded to it? According to a study by Edison Research, a research company for television, radio, Internet companies, social networks and others, the response has been overwhelming. A survey interviewing 2,020 people found that online radio is reaching a weekly audience of almost 76 million users, which accounts for about 29 percent of the US population.

Other interesting stats brought about in the survey were that 44 percent of all Americans aged 12 and over own a smartphone, and among those that own a smartphone 17 percent have listened to online radio streamed in their cars by connecting their phones to their car stereo system. This is nearly a 50 percent increase from the previous year.

So what has led to this sudden boom in online radio? Well the increased usage of mobile devices helped drive the concept of online radio. Popular apps such as Pandora make radio more social, introduce people to new music, and create more mobile music. Other radio apps and online services let you create your own custom stations, often with minimal ads which could incentivize people to connect these stations to their car.

Online radio’s boom likely won’t be short lived. New online radio tools and services are always popping up, and they can provide something normal radio can’t. Not only can you more easily share with friends, but often you get to listen to the songs and type of music that you like rather than having to just settle for what a station is playing. Apps like Pandora are expanding, and so will the power of radio except it will be through the internet rather than radio signals.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin
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