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Keeping an Ear on Local Listeners: Nielsen BDSradio’s Market-Level Streaming Helps Radio Find the Next Hit

2 minute read | February 2017

As the Nielsen 2016 Year-End report shows, music consumption (in terms of album sales, digital tracks and streaming volume) is up, thanks in large part to increases in streaming. On-demand audio streaming grew 76.4% and video streaming grew 7.5% in 2016 compared to 2015, and 80% of music listeners used an online streaming service in the past 12 months.

That said, radio is still the most popular format for music listening in a typical week, and 66% of music listeners discover new songs through some form of radio.

So can market-level streaming activity help radio programmers when it comes to their format?

Nielsen Music launched streaming data from all 210 national designated market areas (DMA) last year. In Nielsen BDSradio, market-level streaming data is featured side-by-side with radio airplay, station playlists and digital sales, which gives programmers a direct line to the music listeners want to hear. The data taps into listeners’ choices across all formats on both a national and market-level, giving radio unprecedented insights.

Taking a deeper look at the Classic Rock format, it’s not hard to find songs with high on-demand streams but little airplay. For example, Boston loves Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” which ranks among the top five on-demand songs in the market but is the 42nd most-streamed song nationally. With very little airplay in the Boston market, this could be an opportunity for radio to play a title that listeners are going out and finding on their own.

In Adult Contemporary, we see another example in Maroon 5’s catalogue. Nielsen BDSradio revealed that “She Will Be Loved” is the third-most streamed song among all the band’s titles in New York, but it’s the 10th-most played song in Maroon 5’s catalogue on New York radio. Fans still want to hear this song, and radio programmers can capitalize on fans’ on-demand music choices.

For Triple A (Adult Album Alternative) programmers, market-level on-demand streaming shows that James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Go” is a song to consider. Of all the current songs on the AAA chart, “Say You Won’t Go” is ranked second nationally and first in San Francisco on-demand. However, radio is not reflecting this appeal: “Say You Won’t Go” is the 42nd-most played current song in the format in terms of radio airplay.

Today, there is greater competition for loyal radio listeners as audiences becomes more platform agnostic, listening anywhere, at anytime REGARDLESS of the station. How can radio stations retain and grow their audience and stay up-to-date on what listeners want? Nielsen BDSradio is helping programmers by providing insights into billions of on-demand music choices made across markets every week.