THE BLOG

Discovering Music: How Personal Radio Opens the Door FM Radio Closes

17/06/2014 15:28 BST | Updated 12/08/2014 10:59 BST

Anyone who works in an office will be familiar with the scenario - half way through the afternoon you feel as if you've heard the latest track by this week's favoured artist enough times to make you never want to hear it again. It feels as if the same handful of songs have been on rotation all day.

Which is mainly because they have. Whilst commercial radio station playlists are notoriously limited, even BBC stations that champion variety and new music have a limited playlist when compared to the depth and breadth of catalogue on offer from digital streaming services.

During May, the UK radio industry, every station combined, played a total of 29,320 unique tracks throughout the whole month. To break this down to individual stations, BBC Radio 1 played 3,390 unique tracks whilst Absolute Radio played just 1533.

MixRadio, a personalised music streaming service, by comparison delivered its listeners 66,000 unique tracks in May though its curated mixes, nearly 20 times that of BBC Radio 1. As people personalise their listening, this leads to a further 300,000 unique tracks being discovered or re-discovered by music fans on the service.

The growth of music streaming services has made it easy for people to access and discover a much wider selection of music than is served up by traditional radio. Easier because the experience is personalized, so rather than being overwhelmed by the 30 million tracks MixRadio has in its catalogue, listeners pick a few tracks they like and the service does the rest. Using complex and sophisticated systems of algorithms, the service creates a personal radio station by learning their music tastes and serving up only music they will love.

Brilliant for the listener - simple music discovery and no repetition - but also good news for emerging artists. Whilst traditional radio "breaks" artists by narrowing their playlists and repeating often to drive popularity, personalised radio narrows the audience to a single individual and attempts to serve them only what they like. So artists have their music taken to the people who are most likely to love it and want to hear more of their work beyond that one 'radio friendly' track.

Music streaming is set to increase a massive 75% globally over the next five years, with personal radio listening dominating this increase. The rigidity and repetitiveness of the radio playlist will become a thing of the past as streaming opens new doors of musical discovery. I hope this is a change for the better for both music lovers and new artists looking to find a platform for their music.