Unplug the radio: a variety of new music outlets offer beneficial alternative

Video really hasn’t killed the radio star as the popular song asserts. Many people still rely on the radio as their primary source of music, but there remain many, many other better options available that don’t confine you to the Top 40.

A recent study found that 48 percent of people still use the radio as their primary source of discovering music.  While Youtube was the favorite among teenagers at 64 percent, it was followed closely by the radio at 54 percent, and Youtube overall was only used by 7 percent of people as their primary source, with suggestions from friends beating it at 10 percent.

The results, to me, seem shocking. In an era where the average person has access to not only Youtube, but also Spotify, Last.fm, Pandora, and various review sites such as Pitchfork and the AV Club, why are people still using the radio as a source of discovery? The amount of services online makes finding new music not only easy, but full of options. If you find an album or a song you like, you can stream it for free, and based on that, you can find similar artists.

The radio, however, mostly limits music discovery. Radio stations generally cycle through the same songs. The only new songs added to the cycle are ones that have already made it to the top of the charts, songs that are already well known by the public. Using the radio to discover music is only going to limit you to the set number of songs the radio plays. Even if you hear a song you enjoy on the radio, there’s not much to discover beyond that. There’s no service attached that offers anything like Last.fm or Pandora radio that allows you to find other artists, songs, or albums related to the song they just played.

If 48 percent of people are using the radio to discover music, then they are discovering it in one of the worst ways possible. Limiting yourself to the same set of songs that someone else plays is completely limiting when there’s a world of different music out there that can easily be accessed and enjoyed.