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Traditional radio still popular as streaming grows, study says

Streaming music apps may be hot these days, but it will be a long time before they top the old-fashioned radio dial. 

Traditional AM/FM radio is still the most popular way for people to listen to music, news and talk, even as digital music offers more control and becomes easier to use on the go, according to a study by media agency MediaVest and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment, the nation's biggest radio company. 

According to the study, in which 2,000 people in the U.S. were surveyed from April to June, just over half said they listen to regular AM/FM radio at least once a day, more than any other platform. 

"New outlets are not coming at a cost to traditional forms of consumption," said Radha Subramanyam, Clear Channel's executive vice president of insights, research and analytics. "Now you have more opportunities to consume content and the overall pie has grown." 

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Still, it's clear that recent technology has made its mark. 

About 24% said they watch music videos online every day through services such as YouTube. Streaming AM/FM radio through computers and mobile apps is a factor, at 13% and 11%, respectively. Customized streaming music, including Pandora, Spotify and Rdio, got around 22%, while 14% of people use satellite radio. Clear Channel and MediaVest said those services have increased listening overall. 

"It's not about cannibalization; it's about growth," said David Shiffman, executive vice president of research at MediaVest.  

In the growing digital music industry, Pandora Media Inc. easily beats its rivals, according to the study. More than a third of those surveyed (37%) said they used Pandora regularly, compared with 11% for Spotify and 10% for IHeartRadio. The study also noted that users of Pandora and Spotify were more satisfied with those services than those who access IHeartRadio and other outlets.  

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Most people listen to more than one platform a day. In fact, 63% of teens said they spread their consumption over multiple platforms, more than any other age group. 

The study also tried to illustrate how different age groups use audio. Younger listeners see their music choices as a form of self-expression and "social currency," whereas adults are more inclined to see audio as an escape or to focus at work. 

The place where traditional and satellite radio really dominate is in the car. That's why services like Pandora and IHeartRadio are trying to get into more automobile models, and Pandora said on Monday that it was starting to play commercials on its in-car version in order to capitalize on this big market. 

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Follow on Twitter: @rfaughnder

ryan.faughnder@latimes.com 

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