Tuesday, November 3, 2015

How Radio Airplay Compares To Streaming

Radio Airplay
Many people have a difficult time getting their heads around the fact that a million streams or views just isn't that much in our new Music 4.0 age. A minor hit starts at around 50 million and a major hit is in the hundreds of millions.

1 million isn't that much when it comes to radio either, so take at traditional terrestrial radio for a second and see how it stacks up to streaming.

There are 15,730,000 people in New York City, and Artibitron estimates that a station like Z100 (currently the #1 station in the market) reaches at least 0.01% at any given moment (it's probably 5 times that actually). That's 157,000.

If the station plays a song 5 times a day (not uncommon for a song in rotation), that's 157,000 x 5 = 785,000 listens a day.

If the station plays the song for 2 weeks, that's 785,000 x 14 days = 10.99 million listens from just this one station.

There's probably at least one other station in the market playing the song, so that's 10.99 million x 2 = 21.98 million listens.

If the song is playing in New York, it's probably playing in the top 25 markets as well, which means 21.98 million x 25 = 549.5 million listens.

That's the equivalent of almost 550 million streams, but unlike streams, the artist didn't get paid for a single one of the radio listens (the songwriters got paid though).

Keep in mind that the number of plays above aren't even for a big hit (double the number of plays per day at least) and don't include the ratings for the number 1 station (at least by a factor of 5 in New York City).

You can see why our perceptions of a million are a bit skewed. When it comes to sales, yes, a million is a big deal, but it's not the same scale when judging plays, streams or views.

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