Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are forever changing the way that people discover new music. In looking at Spotify vs Radio airplay you can clearly see some trends in the time it takes for a new song to find a market and the impact of streaming on music discovery.
These streaming platforms are leveling the playing field, allowing new artists to build massive, global fanbases without access to radio airplay, either initially or if ever. The editors of curated playlists on Spotify and Apple Music are supplanting traditional radio DJs as the industry’s most influential tastemakers across many genres.
In Spotify vs radio – radio lags way behind in its ability to quickly give new songs massive exposure. This is a major shift as the time it takes to go to market on Spotify vs radio is so much faster. As seen on the chart below from The Dataface, on average, it takes about two weeks from the time a song is released for it to reach the Spotify top 10 (if it makes it there at all). Meanwhile, the same song takes nearly three months to reach the top 10 on radio (if it makes it there at all).
Once a song gains traction on radio though, it generally has serious staying power. The average top 10 radio hit remained on the Billboard chart for 26 weeks, thirteen weeks longer than on Spotify. Even nine months after release, a huge song can still have consistent spins on the radio.
There is a vast difference though on how these two means of exposure work across musical genres. Rap songs gain traction on Spotify long before they earn substantial airplay on radio, but are also supplanted quicker.
Pop songs present possibly the starkest example of the current divide between Spotify vs radio. A big pop song often exits the Spotify top 10 right around the time that it enters the radio top 10.
All that said, the analysis indicates that mainstream radio is playing a different role in the music landscape than it used to. More and more, artists are finding widespread exposure on streaming platforms first and radio second (if at all). We’re witnessing an indisputable paradigm shift across the music industry in the way music is promoted, how albums and songs are released and how music is consumed.
For more on this check out this complete analysis of Spotify vs radio.
From Michael Hester, Wyatt Shapiro and Jack Beckwith