Did Streaming Services “Kill The Radio Star?”


Ryan Miller

Student listening to music through Spotify, which they have connected to their car’s speakers using bluetooth.

Emma Lloyd, News Editor

With the development of streaming services, the radio has taken a hit in its number of listeners. Services like Spotify, Soundcloud, Napster, and Apple Music have gained more and more listeners and popularity since their original releases. 

While older generations may still be listening to radio, streaming services have clearly ruined that experience for millennials and Gen Z-ers.

Spotify came out in 2011, Apple Music in 2015, Soundcloud in 2007, and Napster in 1999. Most of these release dates correspond to the optimization of AUX cords in cars which allowed people to plug their phones into their car and play their music whenever and wherever they wanted. This was attractive to young tech-savvy teenagers and young adults. 

Alex Romero A student listening to Spotify instead of the radio. (Alex Romero)

SEGA senior Diego Ortega-Salazar says, “Streaming services are pretty good. These days, people have easier access to listen to what they want and on the radio, you don’t have that choice. Take podcasts for example, they don’t have those on the radio, but when you stream it, you can go back to any episode at any time.”

According to a 2021 study conducted by the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), 60% of participants aged 16-24 and 61% of those aged 25-34 use audio streaming platforms. The majority of listeners are millennials (1981-1996) and Gen Z (1997-2013). 

SEGA teacher Amy Becker says, “I think that Gen Z and younger feel a lot more comfortable using the streaming services and I think it’s where most of them get their information and news.”

Older generations, the ones who were born early enough to remember the original 1979 release of the song “Video Killed the Radio Star,” are more likely to actively listen to radio as opposed to younger generations. 

Platforms like Sirius XM have no ads which draws in most of their listeners and they usually come with whatever car you buy. It’s never been easier to stream whatever you want, when you want it.

Becker says, “I think the radio is very limited to what they play for you and you always have to listen to the hosts talk a lot.”

So ultimately streaming services did in fact kill the radio star — at least for Gen Z.