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Now here's a stat to confound and bemuse all the naysayers who'll try to convince you that nobody listens to the radio anymore. Almost 50 million UK adults do every single week. That's the highest number ever recorded and represents 89% of the population. Ok, so it's also true that the population is bigger than it's ever been, but that top-line stat from the latest official RAJAR quarterly listening figures shows just how unwavering our love for radio is in this country, despite the ever-growing slew of other entertainment distractions we have at our disposal. The latest survey covers Q1 2024, taking us from New Year's Day through to Easter. And it's a broadly strong and stable picture throughout, with all the major players having a good news story to tell. 

Firstly, can you hear that audible sigh of relief emanating from the eighth floor at New Broadcasting House in London? The ship has steadied at Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6 Music, and listener loyalty across all three stations remains solid. All three have faced choppy waters over the past 12 months, so bosses will be encouraged to see stability and even a few encouraging areas of growth, despite the constant challenges from the emboldened commercial radio sector.

Radio 2 remains the UK's biggest radio station and is still second only to Heart's network. R2's share of listening (in basic terms, how big is their chunk of the overall radio pie) has increased slightly to 13.7%. That growth can partly be attributed to the fact that their average listening hours (time spent solely with that station) are noticeably up by 24 minutes per week and now stand at 10 hours and 37 minutes. That figure is one of the highest in British radio, and it shows that people are liking what they hear, so keep coming back more often, and for longer. There's another interesting stat showing that 6 million of their 13.2m listeners don't listen to any other station, even though the choice and variety on offer elsewhere has never been greater. Breaking down that 13.2m by age demographic, they hit 4.28m people aged 35-54 each week, with the older 55+ core now sitting at 6.8m. But it's also noteworthy that there are 870k people aged 15-25 opting for Radio 2 every week, which is 7% of the station's total audience, despite being the same crowd that Radio 1 are still keen to attract.

Radio 1 itself has seen its weekly reach fall to 7.31m, but that's a fractional drop of just 20k listeners, meaning their overall share stays the same at 4.5%. What's interesting though is that both Bauer and Global's PR have used Radio 1 to compare the performance of their respective Greatest Hits Radio and Heart brands, where they're ahead in terms of overall listener numbers, rather than using Radio 2, where they're still way behind, even though the audience they're chasing for advertisers on both commercial stations is completely different to the one the BBC's youth service has. When it comes to press release spin, those big banner headline-grabbing stats are always out in full effect. Which means that GHR are trumpeting that they've overtaken Radio 1. That much is true, but it's hardly likely that they've taken any significant dent out of R1's numbers, and their GHR network growth continues to come mostly from their rebranded landgrab of local stations that used to be called something else. 

Back in the day, breakfast was the real battleground for listeners, and although it remains an important part of any stations schedule, aiming to lock listeners in for hours on end, habits seemed to significantly change during the Covid lockdowns beginning in 2020. At that time, we were stuck at home, getting up later, and starting our daily radio listening later in the morning. That trend continues with mid-morning shows now scooping up big audiences across the board. Ken Bruce's move to GHR from R2 just over a year ago was hugely disruptive and significantly changed the landscape, with R2 losing a sizeable chunk of their older demographic in the process, and GHR seeing significant gains. The news that Ken's increased the audience in that 10am-1pm slot by 73% in the last 12 months and stuck on an extra 1.6m listeners isn't the whole story, of course, even though it's one that creates an attention- grabbing headline for the press to latch onto. As mentioned earlier, you can't fully extrapolate how much of that rise has entirely come from his move and how much had been driven by GHR simply increasing that transmission footprint. We won't know that kind of figure for another six months now that Bauer's pretty much run out of established local stations that they can still under that brand umbrella. And remember, Ken's replacement, Vernon Kay at Radio 2, still has the biggest show on UK radio overall, with almost 3 million more listeners than Ken each week. If you want to be even more brutal, Ken himself has more than 4.5 fewer listeners now that he used to have at R2. That's a story that rarely gets reported amongst all the hype surrounding the move, funnily enough.  

The gulf between commercial radio and the BBC overall has widened even further. Almost 40m of us listen to a commercial station for at least 15 minutes each week. Compare that to the 31.3m for the Beeb, and it means the gap of 8.4m is bigger than it's ever been. Time spent with either side remains more than 14 hours each, with the BBC up ever so slightly this quarter. Also of note, there are new highs from DAB listening (almost 62% of the population), and smart speaker listening (almost 15m people), plus a new low for traditional AM/FM analogue services. Absolute Radio has swapped places with KISSTORY (both Bauer brands) to become the UK's no.1 digital commercial station, while 6 Music consolidates its place as the no.1 digital music station overall on 2.548m, up 1% on the last quarter. The much-talked-about Boom Radio saw its first dip in its audience to 602k, down 4% on the last quarter and 5% on the year. However, with 11.8 average hours per listener, that's almost an hour and half longer than Radio 2, and it gives them the highest number for any UK music station, bar none. Now that's loyalty. 

Briefly rounding up some of the other big names, Global's Heart network has their best-ever reach with 9.4m, their Capital network rose to 6.2m and their Smooth network hit 5.8m. Bauer's Magic was on 4.4m and Kiss was on 2.3m. Virgin was up on the last quarter, now with 1.5m weekly listeners, but that's still behind Radio X which jumped to 2.1m.

There's no question that there's something for everyone out there, and that's without looking at the huge selection of speech, sport, news and talk services, all of which should see some significant upswings over the next six months with the looming UK General Election, US Presidential campaigns, plus the Olympics and Euro footy tournament all imminent. 

We await details of the new BBC spin-off services to compliment Radio 1, 2 and 3, all of which are expected to launch on BBC Sounds later this autumn, before a possible full DAB rollout soon after that if all goes according to plan. All of which means that the UK radio landscape remains fluid and ever-changing. Things rarely stay static for long, and there are disruptors lurking around every corner. But although the growth of podcasts and music streaming services has pulled us in their direction, we as a nation collectively keep coming back to live radio, week in and week out. The resilience of the medium remains extraordinary. See you back here on 1 August for the next set of results. 

 

14 Jun 2024 | Press release

Superfan App Stationhead Opens Up New All-Access Tier to Help Artists Identify and Reward the Biggest Music Fans

  Fans want to feel special and to connect to each other and their favorite artists. Artists want an enjoyable, low-lift way to interact with their fans, something that feels like a hang, not a forced marketing initiative. Both sides have...more

14 Jun 2024 | Press release

hmv’s Vinyl Week is back with exclusive releases from George Michael, Bob Marley, Jeff Wayne, Suede, Simple Minds and Fleetwood Mac

  Limited edition exclusive vinyl will be available in hmv stores on “Exclusives Day” on 15th June, with Morcheeba, The Specials, Minecraft, Justin Timberlake, Meatloaf and S Club 7 among the featured acts Each record in this year’s collection is pressed onto a...more

14 Jun 2024 | Press release

Concord Music Publishing ANZ Inks Publishing Agreement with John Butler

Concord Music Publishing ANZ today announce a new global publishing agreement with treasured Australian songwriter John Butler. A household name in Australia for over two decades, the worldwide deal (excluding Japan), covers Butler’s full catalogue including hits ‘Better Than,’ ‘Zebra,’ and...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

The LIVE Awards 2024 - Save the Date

Skiddle Announced as Headline Sponsor The annual LIVE Awards will return on Wednesday 11th December and will once again take place at Troxy, the iconic Art Deco venue in East London, which will accommodate over 600 guests from across the live music...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

Musical AI Tames the Chaos and Ushers in a Sustainable Generative AI Future

  Thanks to groundbreaking technology, this newly launched rights management platform allows attribution and metered licensing of copyrighted works for AI training and generation. Musical AI (formerly Somms.ai) is unveiling its new rights management platform for AI, serving as a secure go-between...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

Meta and Merlin Renew Key Partnership, Highlighting the Importance of Independent Music Across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger

Meta and Merlin, the independent’s digital music licensing partner, are excited to announce the renewal of their strategic partnership, underscoring Meta’s recognition of the value and importance of the world’s leading independent labels and distributors. This renewal reinforces the pivotal...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

Music.AI builds on Masterchannel and Cyanite partnerships in step towards single source audio ecosystem

Music.AI announces RoEx as third partner integrated into its AI platform Music.AI, the leading B2B AI-powered music and audio platform, has announced a partnership with RoEx, the AI multitrack mixing service for musicians, producers, and content creators. The news represents the latest...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

Cakewalk Software Now Exclusively Available Through BandLab Membership

  Cakewalk, a historic and pioneering name in digital audio workstations (DAWs), is excited to announce that Cakewalk Next and Cakewalk Sonar have exited public beta and are available worldwide exclusively through BandLab Membership. This marks a significant milestone for Cakewalk,...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

BEYOND THE MUSIC announce first details of groundbreaking music industry conference and share first wave lineup announcement

UNIQUE GLOBAL CO-OPERATIVE MUSIC FORUM & NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FIRST DETAILS OF GROUNDBREAKING MUSIC INDUSTRY CONFERENCEINTRODUCING THE BRAND NEW ‘FUTURE OF MUSIC VILLAGE’ SHOWCASING THE VERY BEST OF MUSIC INNOVATION AND VISIONARIES IN THE TECH INDUSTRYANNOUNCE SUPPORT OF THE...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

First official selection of showcase artists for WOMEX 24 revealed

WOMEX 24, Manchester 23-27th October   Manchester Music City, the host partner for this year’s WOMEX (Worldwide Music Expo), has today (13 June 2024) revealed the first batch of official showcase artists for the 30th edition. The 20 artists announced come from 25 different countries,...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

TCAT launches mobile app to combat music piracy

‘To Catch A Thief’ Piracy is a $13 Billion-a-Year Problem Ground-Breaking Software Will Allow Artists To Check Who Is Pirating Their Music   TCAT, the music industry’s anti-piracy software developer, has launched a new App that will allow artists to see where their music is being illegally used...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

FUGA partners with Record Makers; continues expansion in France & Belgium

FUGA also enters into a partnership with Potion Records, the label founded by Belgian producer and DJ, The MagicianRecord Makers and Potion Records join FUGA’s existing roster in the region, including Bendo Music, VIPMUSIK Records, Jaiye, Soundbirth and Underground Tekno Downtown-owned,...more

13 Jun 2024 | Press release

The Circuit Group Launches Label Services Division with Key Hires, Appoints Chief Strategy Officer

The Circuit Group, the new enterprise led by some of the most respected artist managers in the world to build business opportunities around artists’ intellectual property, today announced several new hires made up of music industry experts.  The Circuit Group is...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

The Production Music Awards 2024 opens for entries, celebrates 10 years of championing human-made music

  The prestigious event celebrates the finest production music industry libraries and Composers from around the world. Now open for entries, categories span genres across Composition and Sync.   The Production Music Awards—celebrating exceptional production music libraries and Composers—today announces its 2024 call for...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

NTIA Collaborates with KUVO Powered by DJ Monitor to Enhance Music Insights for UK Venues and Increase the Accuracy of Royalty Payments for Creators

AlphaTheta Corporation today announces its brand, KUVO Powered by DJ Monitor, partners with the NTIA. The initiative aims to support electronic music creators and offer music insights to venues across the UK to enhance their businesses. It creates a ground-breaking...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

Concord Music Publishing sign electronic duo Mount Kimbie to new global agreement

  Concord Music Publishing today announce the signing of Mount Kimbie – the pioneering English electronic music duo of Dom Maker and Kai Campos – to a new worldwide publishing agreement.  The new deal covers all works going forward including acclaimed new...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

Managing Expectations: Workforce Edition

New MMF report recommends targeted cross-sector support to ensure music management companies can develop their future workforce The third edition in the MMF’s Managing Expectations series reveals a mixed picture for UK music managers with survey respondents outlining inherent challenges to...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

2Point9 Records Slams “Arrogant” Ministry of Sound Recordings in Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

UK Independent Issues High Court Proceedings against Major Label  2Point9 Records, the London based independent label founded by Billy Grant and Rob Stuart in 2000, has issued court proceedings against Ministry of Sound Recordings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

Kits Earn: Kits.AI invites vocalists to create an AI Voice model and unlock new revenue

Kits.AI enabled artists to monetize their voice and likeness while allowing fans to create commercially viable music using their favorite artists' voices–setting the gold standard for the rest of the music industry. Since its founding in July 2023, the company...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

DawBell announces Kate Etteridge as Managing Director

With Promotions for Laura Sinclair, James Windle and Holly Appleton  Etteridge becomes Managing Director from Head of Music and Entertainment Three other promotions to Heads of Entertainment, Music and Operations named as DawBell announces restructure among senior team   Award winning music and popular...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

Universal Music India announces strategic leadership appointments

Sanujeet Bhujabal appointed Managing Director, Universal Music India and South Asia  Viral Jani appointed Chief Revenue Officer, Universal Music India and South Asia    Universal Music India (UMI), a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world-leader in music-based entertainment today announced the...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

PRS Foundation’s UK and Republic of Ireland co-commissioning and touring initiative, Beyond Borders, opens for applications

  Deadline to submit applications is 29th July 2024 at 6pm Grant support of up to £15,000 is available for projects PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development announces today that its UK and Republic of Ireland...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

BMC the UK's leading electronic music conference sets dates for 2025

BMC, the UK's leading electronic music conference and networking event sets dates for its 12th edition from 28th to 30th May 2025. A hub for the next generation of talent in electronic music, the award winning event brings together Industry-leading professionals with a packed...more

12 Jun 2024 | Press release

UK Music Video Awards calls for submissions as the premier global celebration of music videos returns

  The search begins for this year’s most creative and innovative work in music videos and music visual projects as the UK Music Video Awards launches its call for submissions from today, June 12th 2024. The leading global celebration of excellence in...more

11 Jun 2024 | Press release

Tunecore's independent artists have earned more than $4 billion

The leading global self-releasing artist development platform surpasses latest milestone of $4 billion earned by artists since the company was founded in 2006     TuneCore, the leading development partner for self-releasing artists—owned by Believe, one of the world's leading digital music companies—has...more

11 Jun 2024 | Press release

'Strangers' singer-songwriter-producer, Kenya Grace, signs with PPL for international royalties collection

  UK music licensing company PPL has announced the signing of BRITs nominated artist Kenya Grace for the collection of international neighbouring rights royalties. She joins a host of artists who signed with PPL recently for international collections including Central Cee,...more

11 Jun 2024 | Press release

Music Venue Trust announce, ‘A Manifesto For Grassroots Music’ ahead of General Election

POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES FROM ALL PARTIES URGED TO “SEIZE THE MOMENT” Music Venue Trust (MVT), the charity which represents hundreds of Grassroots Music Venues (GMVs), has called upon politicians from all parties to “seize the moment” ahead of the forthcoming UK General...more

11 Jun 2024 | Press release

Downtown Music Appoints Molly Neuman as President of CD Baby

Industry Veteran to Lead Downtown Music's Direct-to-Creator Businesses CD Baby and Soundrop Downtown Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Molly Neuman as President of its Direct-to-Creator division, CD Baby. The move, which follows the alignment of the company’s operating...more

11 Jun 2024 | Press release

Industry veteran Ronnie Gurr joins Naked – the world’s 1st eco-friendly record club

NAKED S.A.R.L. (NAKED Société à Responsabilité Limitée), the French parent company of NAKED Record Club, today announces the appointment of Ronnie Gurr as a Non-Executive Director. Music industry veteran Gurr, who begins work with immediate effect, will advise on artist and label...more

11 Jun 2024 | Press release

Please Give your Isle of Wight Festival Stories at Experience 25!

  Dr Patrick Glen from Leeds University will be visiting Experience 25 to gather your stories from the 1968 to 1970 Festivals! Experience 25 celebrates the earlier Festivals and the new Isle of Wight Festival from 2002 onwards – 25 this...more

14 Jun 2024

  • Mainstream culture is dissolving, and with it the nature of “pop music”. (see Opinion)

  • 14 issues in music that don't get enough attention (see Opinion)

13 Jun 2024

  • How low will Spotify’s royalty payments go? (ses Analysis)

12 Jun 2024

  • European artists generated €1.5bn of Spotify payouts in 2023 (see Reports)

  • MMF report reveals earnings breakdown for artist managers (see Reports)

11 Jun 2024

  • Report released on the notion of artist success in the modern music industry (see Reports)

10 Jun 2024

  • How 'Swiftonomics' is impacting the music industry (see Analysis)

07 Jun 2024

  • TV channels once championed music. Why have they given up so completely? (see Comment)

  • Rising streaming subscription prices are likely to lead to a rebundling of services (see Comment)

06 Jun 2024

  • What role does geography play in people’s relationship to music? (see Analysis)

  • The state of the attention economy: why don’t fan-first platforms work? (see Analysis)

05 Jun 2024

  • Why isn’t the government helping artists tour the US? (see Features)

04 Jun 2024

  • Hipgnosis Songs Fund turned out to be worth more than a lot of people thought (see Analysis)

03 Jun 2024

  • Songs as cultural moments (and why TikTok trends are so appealing) (see Comment)

  • Daniel Ek clarifies his "cost of creating content being close to zero" comment (see Digital)

  • Can Taylor Swift make a difference for struggling musicians and new artists? (see Features)