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Do You Still Heart Radio?

old fashioned radioDriving with my sunroof open and singing at the top of my lungs while jumping from station to station finding the next best song on the radio: that was how it used to be.

Now, before I put my car in Drive, I plug in my iPhone and launch one of my music apps.

Interesting to think how the entire radio industry is changing. Morning talk shows still have a loyal audience (I’m a Scott and Todd fan myself), but the drive home? That’s an important time in your day. You want to listen to your favorites, or songs that can help you unwind from your day or get pumped up for the weekend.

With a few taps on a SmartPhone, you can dash from a pop station in New York, to country in Nashville, talk from just about anywhere, and customize your own playlists.

Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, TuneIn and iHeartRadio are going head-to-head in the marketplace as consumers grow accustomed to having one app for all their radio needs, and manufacturers of everything from televisions to cars are beginning to incorporate suites of streaming apps. Clear Channel just added a custom radio feature to iHeartRadio last September, to compete with Pandora.

And from a marketing standpoint, advertisers know that if they want to reach Gen Y, they need to be there.

TuneIn, which offers 70,000 streams from around the world, announced recently it has 40 million monthly users.

IHeartRadio has been downloaded 95 million times and has attracted more than 12 million registered users.

That’s somewhat surprising considering a recent New York Times article, which reported that only a fraction of the radio audience is online: John Hogan, chief executive of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, said that 98% of those listening to his company’s stations are still on its terrestrial signals. But it is growing quickly. According to Triton Digital, a company that measures Internet radio audiences, Clear Channel’s online audience has risen 117% in the last year.

How long until online radio takes over completely? Either way, I’m going to continue to sing really loud.

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