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Will Music Apps Spell the End for Conventional Radio?

Video killed the radio star, apparently. Although it never really happened. Radio has managed to find a home amongst more modern forms of media, fitting itself nicely into a niche where it is still relevant, but for how long?

Radio has survived among younger generations primarily due to its use in cars, where obviously TV entertainment is not exactly practical for the driver. However, with the rise of music apps on smartphones that can be easily connected to your speaker system, more and more people are turning away from the broadcasters. They instead choose to set up their own playlists on whichever app they happen to use, guaranteeing themselves a music selection they will enjoy.

Radio has to cater to many tastes, so you are always going to hear some songs you wouldn't choose yourself and many people dislike the ads and interruptions that come along with radio stations. CDs offer a similar appeal to apps in this regard, but they limit you to a set selection or require you to burn your own discs. This, combined with the recent surge in apps such as Spotify and Apple Music, could well mark the start of a major shift in the field.

It is true that many of the apps on offer follow a radio-style format as either all or part of their functionality, such as the new Apple Radio, but their usage is much lower than the more straightforward playlist option. The only major issue I can see with the switch to smartphone apps would be the temptation for drivers to look at their phone while driving in order to change the song. With the rise of more sophisticated voice command functionality however, this shouldn't be an issue in the years to come.

There is also the counter argument that radio, while primarily focusing on music for entertainment, also provides the driver with important news and traffic updates, but there is no reason an app couldn't also fill that void for any listener who desires it. There are already plenty around that can notify you on such occasions, so incorporating the two together could easily resolve this issue.

I'm not suggesting that anyone who works in radio needs to quickly jump ship before it sinks. The transition, as with any dramatic shift of this nature, will be a gradual one. Interfaces need to improve, functionality needs tweaking and selections need broadening before apps will become the dominant form of in-car entertainment, in my opinion. I do, however, expect the shift to happen before too long.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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Will Music Apps Spell the End for Conventional Radio? Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, September 14, 2015 Rating: 5

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