How many times do we hear about the death of terrestrial radio? Both The Future of Music and The Long Tail offer a gloomy prognosis, with listener numbers apparently at a 27-year low in the US. This trend isn't so clearly reflected here in the UK, where several factors are different, including a strong legacy of commercial-free music radio and a growing terrestrial digital sector that offers niche programming (satellite radio isn't likely to be viable in Europe). Even in the US, according to new research from Bridge Ratings, terrestrial radio remains the most common place that people go to discover new music. See their recent press release for a larger version of this graphic.
Forty five per cent of their sample identified terrestrial radio as their preferred means of discovering music. Even if you take out the older 35-to-54-year-old group, and include just people aged 12 to 34, this percentage drops slightly to just over 35%.
There's a seductive myth that discovery is driven by MySpace and filesharing these days, but the figures don't support terminology as strong as 'driven'.