The American Youth Study 2010 – Part One: Radio’s Future

The American Youth Study 2010 is a significant survey of the media and technology habits of America’s 12-24 year-olds, and represents a sequel to a study originally conducted by Edison in 2000. In addition to a sample of today’s 12-24 year-old Americans, this study also re-examines a cohort from the 2000 study – today’s 22-34 year olds – to analyze how their tastes and habits have changed over the past decade.
The first release from this dataset is subtitled “Radio’s Future,” and is focused on the music discovery and consumption habits of young Americans. The study was sponsored by
Principal findings from this study include the following:

12-24 year-old Americans reported Internet usage of two hours and fifty-two minutes per day, roughly triple this age group’s reported usage from 2000 (59 minutes).

Radio continues to be the medium most often used for music discovery, with 51% of 12-24 year-olds reporting that they “frequently” find out about new music by listening to the radio. Other significant sources include friends (46%), YouTube (31%) and social networking sites (16%).
20% of 12-24s have listened to Pandora in the last month, with 13% indicating usage in the past week. By comparison, 6% of 12-24s indicated they have listened to online streams from terrestrial AM/FM stations in the past week.
More than four in five 12-24s own a mobile phone in 2010 (up from only 29% in 2000), and these young Americans are using these phones as media convergence devices. 50% of younger mobile phone users have played games on their phones, 45% have accessed social networking sites, and 40% have used their phones to listen to music stored on their phones.
Music tastes have shifted among 12-24s over the past decade: those radio listeners who indicated that Top 40/Pop stations were their favorite have more than doubled, while Alternative Rock stations were selected by half as many listeners in 2010 as in 2000.
Today’s 22-34s have significantly changed their media consumption habits since the first study in this series 10 years ago. In 2000, 44% of 12-24s most often began their day by listening to the radio. Today, radio continues to lead, with 29% of that same cohort (today’s 22-34 year-olds) reporting that radio is the medium they use most in the morning, while Television (25%) and the Internet (23%) have gained significantly.

Download the presentation slides from American Youth Study presentation here.
A total of 1,533 respondents were interviewed to investigate interest in, and consumption of, traditional and new media among American youth. From September 8 to September 13, 2010, interviews were conducted online with respondents age 12 to 34 chosen at random from a national sample of Knowledge Networks’ “KnowledgePanel,” an online panel that is representative of the entire U.S. population through its use of dual-frame sample recruitment and a known published sampling frame. Data from this year’s study is tracked with the 2000 Edison Research study, “Radio’s Future: Today’s 12 to 24 Year-Olds,” which was conducted via telephone.

7 replies
  1. mike
    mike says:

    “Music tastes have shifted… Top 40/Pop stations were their favorite have more than doubled… Alternative Rock stations were selected by half as many listeners in 2010 as in 2000.”
    Is it possible that Alternative music listeners are more likely to utilize the internet than Top 40 listeners? Maybe this could explain some of the shift.

  2. Laurie-Ann Copple
    Laurie-Ann Copple says:

    I agree with Clark. People of all ages listen to the radio. In the case of the cohorts older than the studied group, many people listen to the radio in the car on the way to work or on the return from work. I had (have) a show on CKCU that is a drive-home show for the government workers who get off work at 3 pm.
    As for other forms of learning new songs – radio is still a good way to learn new songs! I have received many calls at CKCU that ask what a song is (even though I usually do a front sell.. Other sources of learning songs are online through YouTube videos, links to songs from Facebook friends and Jango (a design your-own internet ‘station.’ Basically its Category 3 music, but there’s lots of music listed there
    Laurie-Ann Copple

  3. Jeff Vidler
    Jeff Vidler says:

    Great work as always, Tom, Larry et al. I really like the cohort analysis. I also thought it was interesting that the conclusions you drew from your 2010 survey were fundamentally the same as your recommendations following the 2000 study. Little seems to have changed. Or, is it possible that too many cows have left the barn since 2000? Will sending “more stations” after these demos really bring them back to linear broadcast radio? Or should we instead focus our energies on where many of the younger demos have gone and are still going… to online and mobile platforms with the on-demand functionality that they provide? In this scenario, the linear broadcast plays a supporting role, directing younger demos who still listen to brand extensions on these new platforms.

  4. Appleton Piper
    Appleton Piper says:

    I think the number of people of any age group who listen to what is called “Alternative Rock” will be down no matter what, as we get farther away from the age in which the term was invented (early 90’s?). And another thing not recognized is not only how dated that term is, but how vague it is.
    It’s similar to a flight attendant summarizing the menu by asking if you want “the chicken” or “the fish.”
    If we lump Jack Johnson in with Lady GaGa and Lil Wayne, then are we likely to call Jack Johnson “Alternative Rock” because it’s not Lil Wayne (Rap) and it’s not Lady GaGa (undeniably Pop)? Maybe people have different definitions, and theron lies an important and needed distinction. Pop might as well call itself “Most Music,” but if I like Jack Johnson AND Animal Collective, but can’t stand Lil Wayne, what box do I check?
    I think a better question would’ve been “From which source do you first hear about Popular music and from where do you hear about non-commercial music?”. Then the answer for the first would likely be “Radio” and the second would be “Everywhere else”
    Also what about blogs, XM radio and Magazines?


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