Internet Radio Listening Doubled in Past Year, Study Claims

The computer continues to insert itself into every aspect of daily life. Now it is a source for music from one's hometown—whether that town is across the state or across the ocean.

More people than ever are listening to radio stations over the Internet, according to a study released March 17 by eBrain Market Research, a service of the Consumer Electronics Association. The fourth Annual Multimedia PC and Internet Audio study compares the listening habits of 1375 multimedia owners during January 2000 to a similar sample from the same period during the previous year. Conclusion: Internet radio listening has doubled in one year.

In 1999, only 33% of multimedia computer users listened to online radio stations. This year, that number jumped to 63%, most of them at work—presumably, with their employers' consent. Three out of 10 home-computer owners did likewise. Although the study says that males are the majority among Internet radio fans, females are rapidly catching up. "As a percentage," a CEA press release states, "the number of female multimedia PC owners listening to online radio stations increased faster than the number of males between early 1999 and early 2000." The exact percentage isn't mentioned in the announcement.

Likely reasons for the growth of Internet radio include better network connections, faster processors, and improved audio performance from computers. Favorite radio formats include talk radio, news, and rock and classical music. Many people enjoy "staying in touch with their roots" by listening to hometown radio stations, the study mentions. The ability to listen to stations from anywhere without reception problems is also a big plus for Internet radio.