Did Streaming Wipe Out the Radio Star?

Our report says: not exactly.
Did Streaming Wipe Out the Radio Star?
Sara Mekinc

No matter what those 1980s lyrics told you, video did not kill radio, and neither did streaming. In fact, the three co-exist to thrive in the long term.

👉 Get the details in our report.👈


Creating fame and fortune has always meant striking the iron while it’s hot. For years, it was all about radio chart positions, which, in turn, drove interest and sales. Today, the dynamic has shifted. The buzz surrounding new releases and artists happens on streaming services, but due to the hyper-productive era, the initial hype dies down relatively fast and makes room for the next exciting new thing. That’s where radio picks up and keeps fanning the flames so that the artists remain hot and well-inserted in our collective ear canals. 

What do the numbers say?

To see just how different the Streaming vs. Airplay music landscape is, we analysed the 100 most-streamed artists on Spotify in June 2021 and the 100 artists with the most radio airplay in that same timeframe, and compared the results. 

Here are some of the findings.

  • Streaming prefers “junior” artists with careers under 15 years. While radio is friendlier to more established artists (64 % of the 100 most-spinned artists have been in the business longer than 15 years), a whopping 80 % of the 100 most-streamed musicians have emerged in recent years.
Most played artists on Spotify and radio.

Both the streaming and the airplay stats cover June 2021. 

  • Olivia Rodrigo, Bad Bunny and Rauw Alejandro were among the most-streamed artists on Spotify in June, while Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran and The Weeknd claimed the top 3 radio spins worldwide.
  • Pop rules radio, while Hip Hop dominates streaming. Pop and Rock represented 75 % of all radio spins worldwide, and Electronic took third place. On Spotify, Hip Hop amassed 38 % of the top 100 streams, followed by Pop (27 %) and Latin (18 %).
  • The five most-streamed artists each secured between 437M and 1B streams, and their average monthly royalty payout was estimated at $687.5K. The 100 artists with the most radio airplay saw an average of 154K monthly radio spins, suggesting radio holds a role at the tail end of the consumption curve.

👉 Download the full report here. 👈

If you’re interested in more stats such as these, be sure to check out other reports. We've suggested a couple on the above link.

Sara Mekinc

Sara Mekinc

Content Specialist at Viberate
Avid concert-goer, a sucker for creative wordsmithery, and 100 % biodegradable. Google "melomaniac".