Is the Death of Radio Inevitable?

Written by on March 28, 2023

With less than a month until Spotify’s 17th birthday, the streaming service has grown from a mere tiny platform out of Sweden to a globally accessible home base to some of the biggest artists. 

In the years since the streaming era began, almost every large media corporation has introduced some method of music streaming. Apple released Apple Music, Amazon released Amazon Music, Jay-Z co-released Tidal, and even YouTube (home to Vevo) has a platform! Just like every other form of media, the accessibility of streaming services is nearly impossible to beat. Not only do you pay a monthly subscription and have access to millions of audio files, the AI technology allows the software to curate perfect playlists for the listener. Additionally, platforms now offer their own individual radio stations for customers who prefer the previous sound of radio. 

Source: BBC

One interesting feature that Spotify has introduced is an AI DJ. This DJ sorts through the hundreds (if not thousands) of saved songs from the listener. It creates a flow of music made specifically for the ears of the user. This type of technology is only accessible to a platform that can track listening data from each individual user. 

Source: Spotify

So where does this leave radio?

Clearly, radio hasn’t died. Anyone who turns on their car can tell you. However, it’s important to note that the car is roughly the only place most people have access to the radio today. Unlike the decades preceding 2010, radios are not commonly available at retail locations nor much desired by the public. Yet, it’s not surprising that people don’t want to invest in a stereo when they can access the same music at the convenience of their phone (and of course the millions of other options accessible too).

Something that has interestingly became a major factor in music is the actual sound quality. Many people desire music based solely off the music rather than the lyrics. Therefore, there has been an explosion in the availability of surround sound on digital platforms. For instance, Apple music now advertises songs that are available with Dolby Atmos features, which is a feature radio could never apply to its platform.

Source: Apple

These new features, which are only available through streaming services, pose a real question asking if radio has finally reached its end. Every feature of radio is available at the hands of anyone who owns a smartphone. Listeners who like the format of public radio have options to listen to daily mixes of music curated by a DJ. Other listeners who want to only listen to music that they specifically want to also have options to play the songs at their choosing.

Radio is still alive as this is being written, but with new AI technologies and the increasing rise in streaming relevance, there may not be a place for radio in the future. That poses the final question:

Is the death of radio inevitable?

  • Adam Pearson

    Music has been a passion of Adam's for as long as he can remember. Adam started playing music at the age of 7 in his local town learning piano, later taking on guitar, to eventually find his love in the alto sax. Though Adam is an avid listener to pop culture, he also enjoys spending time listening to classical, hip-hop, country, and all forms of other music. Adam has been volunteering for Coog Radio since Jan 2020.

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