According to the Music Industry Report, radio ranked second overall for music listeners during COVID-19 after streaming services like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music. This number speaks to why radio still matters to bands with respect to live shows and ticket sales.

Compared to services like Spotify, which are not viable sources of music income for most bands but certainly offer exposure, radio may seem like an antiquated medium to which few people now pay attention. Yet the Music Industry Report, an exhaustive study released Dec. 10th, 2020 by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Exploration Group, paints a very different picture.

According to the report: While Spotify took top spot as the platform where consumers of all age groups listened to and/or discovered new music, the report reveals:

  • 36% of people listened to music through AM/FM radio during COVID-19.
  • 33.3% of people discovered new music through AM/FM radio.
  • 25.1% of people discovered new music through satellite radio like SiriusXM and Pandora.

The significance of these numbers to bands and live shows comes down to geography and listening audiences.

Music Streaming Audiences Are Not Necessarily Local Audiences

Music streaming audiences are a highly generalized audience. Listeners may live anywhere in the world. That means, while some may drop a few pennies into a band’s bank account from streaming, they may not live anywhere close enough to attend a band’s live show unless that band goes on tour. So, music streaming services cannot be called a strong live show promotional channel for bands who do not have the time, money, or ability to tour, and rely on show attendance from local audiences.

Radio Reaches Local Audiences

While radio listeners can certainly listen to digital radio broadcasts from around the world, radio listeners tend to listen to local digital and terrestrial stations, which cover local news, weather, and sports—information that is timely, relevant, and important to the day-to-day lives of people.

As an example: According to Neilson’s August 2020 Total Audience Report, 33% of people listened to news updates on a music radio station and 28% listened to a public radio station for their news. So, radio represents a strong channel for bands to promote their music and attendance at shows because local radio listeners have a better chance of getting to those shows.

Many radio stations, of course, are locked into playlists and the directives of corporate ownership. So, it can be extremely difficult (or impossible) for a band to get airplay on some stations. However, the Music Industry Report points out that community radio stations also did very well during COVID-19, and community radio has always provided an accessible mass medium for song-play by local artists. Indeed, community stations like CFRU-FM (based out of the University of Guelph) are mandated as part of their broadcast license to play local music. Their on-air personalities generally put their shows together independently (meaning they don’t have to adhere to playlists), and they’re accessible and approachable. This makes community radio a viable and reachable medium through which bands can reach local listeners, engage in cross-promotion with stations, and help attract audiences to shows.

Community radio stations also help bands strengthen fan engagement while supporting an overall medium to which more music fans are slowly gravitating.

As WXNA co-founder and DJ Randy Fox says in the Music Industry Report, “The feedback that I get from other community radio stations is that that’s what’s really happening. People are beginning to value [community radio] more. The more things become digital and homogenized, the more opportunity there is for the gritty grass roots to spring up.”

Broadcast options for local bands also include podcasts, which have steadily grown in popularity. As an example, according to Statista: In 2006, 11% of U.S. consumers had listened to a podcast. Since then, podcast listeners have steadily grown. In 2020, 55% of U.S. consumers had listened to a podcast, and in Canada, the trend in listener growth is similar.

In other words, Spotify and other music streaming services came along years ago to drop a boulder on radio. Yet the medium survives because, as pointed out by Freddie Mercury in “Radio Ga Ga,” “Radio, someone still loves you,” meaning radio still matters to bands in the broadest spectrum of the word “radio” because it still provides a strong and meaningful way to reach audiences, build fans, and encourage them to attend shows—and this is the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

Restrictions and lockdowns will end. Live shows will return, and audiences cannot wait to go to them. So, in preparation for this, now is the time to record your music and begin contacting local radio stations and podcasters before live shows start and you simply run out of time to record.

If you don’t have your own home studio, or don’t have the gear you need for an airplay-quality recording, no worries. Royal City Studios’ recording studio has you covered with all the facilities and gear you need for a professional recording.

Lockdown Allowance for Sound Recording Means Our Studio Is Open

Similar to allowances for sound recording issued under the Ontario government’s Dec. 26th, 2020 shutdown order, our studios are open for sound recording under the Ontario government’s second state of emergency and stay-at-home order effective Jan. 14th, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

We can record up to 3 people at a time in our recording studio and 10 people in our music hall.

Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering while recording. (Please contact us regarding vocals and face coverings.) We are also following all COVID-19 safety and cleanliness protocols and have done so since the beginning of the pandemic. (Here’s a quick video summary of everything we’re doing.)

Just $99 Per Hour up to Four Hours

  • $499 for a half day (six hours)
  • $900 for a full day (12 hours)

If you want to bring along your own engineer, no problem. If you need one, you can pick one of our engineers with rates that fit your budget.

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Questions? Concerns? Please do not hesitate to contact us. Our number one priority is your safety and assurance that you have everything you need to feel comfortable working in our studio.

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