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Streaming radio killing terrestrial radio? Not yet, studies show.

There is no doubt that streaming music services such as Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn and the newly introduced iTunes Radio are continuing to grow.  But the question is how much that growth will impact the terrestrial radio industry.

Since its launch in September, roughly 20 million people have used Apple’s iTunes Radio and listened to more than a billion songs, reported AllAccess.com.  Pandora now accounts for 8 percent of all radio being listened to. Meanwhile, iHeartRadio has just touched an impressive milestone, having reached 40 million registered users since its September 2011 relaunch. But despite this growth in popularity and availability, these services may not be having the effect that was expected.

Contrary to the popular belief that increased consumption of streaming music has lowered the popularity of traditional radio, some studies show otherwise. An Edison Research study involving the habits of online Americans over the age of 12 showed that 83 percent of respondents listen to AM/FM radio in the car, while 57 percent listen at home. Internet radio and personalized playlists tend to be the preferred listening method on personal technological devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers. Although the study also showed there were a number of hours where streaming music replaced AM/FM in time spent listening, it also showed that Americans are listening to streaming services in addition to terrestrial radio. A study done by Scarborough conveyed a similar development, showing Pandora users spent a greater amount of time per day listening to AM/FM Radio than non-Pandora users.

This trend is also evident in the way streaming audio is becoming widely available through gaming devices, tablets and smartphones. Pandora created a special version of its web app to be used on Android tablets, and the TuneIn radio app has targeted the PS3 and Vita. Because these apps are portable and more personal, they aren’t necessarily cutting into the time individuals spend listening to AM/FM radio. Instead, the study found they are filling in the gaps where Americans were not typically listening to traditional radio in the first place

Although iTunes Radio brings a new contender to the field and competition to other streaming services like iHeartRadio and Pandora, the relationship between streaming music services and traditional radio is still evolving. Only listeners can determine the way this will change the industry. But one thing is clear: streaming radio hasn’t killed the radio star just yet.

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