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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

Digital Music Downloads Continue to Increase

No surprise, huh? And while the number of digital music downloads continue to increase each year, physical media sales are still the king in the US. But that could change next year according to data from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). In 2010, the IFPI predicts that revenue from digital downloads will equal revenue from physical media sales. The IFPI predicts this will be true around the world in 2016.

It’s no surprise, really. Download digital music keeps getting easier. And with portable devices — whether it’s an Ipod or a smart phone — being carried as an item as essential as keys and a wallet, consumers are using their downloads more often as well.

And that’s a concern for radio.

While there is some effort to include terrestrial receivers in portable devices, it’s not ubiquitous. Some cell phones have receivers. The soon-to-be-released Zune HD will have an FM HD Radio receiver built in. That’s a good start, but it doesn’t look like it will be enough.

The NAB has been trying to promote radio to the masses. The Radio Heard Here campaign, with its offshoots, are a noble effort. But the campaign relies on radio to convey the radio message. I’m not seeing radio promoted outside our own domain.

The music industry is staying current and meeting the needs of listeners. Can radio say the same thing?

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