Discovery Channels

August 21, 2012

Last week, the Nielsen rating service released survey results that showed radio is still the primary vehicle for music discovery, although teens mostly listen to their favorite jams on YouTube.

Radio as a driving force for discovery in the digital age? That feels like an odd revelation — at least until you actually spend time out in the real world. My musical universe exists mostly in my home, where the song choices are all mine. But when I exit my cocoon and go to, say, the neighborhood pool, the radio rules. None of the teen lifeguards is plugging in an iPod and DJing my cannonballs, but the radio is always buzzing when I make big splashes.

The tune I discovered and heard most that way this summer was Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” an irresistible stick of bubblegum pop that I believe has been scientifically proven to be on the airwaves every 10 minutes. Rather than get sick of the song soundtracking all of my sweet swan dives, I often found myself wanting to hear it at home.

But I didn’t turn to Spotify or iTunes: Oldsters can flip on the YouTube, too.

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Dr. Andrea Bonior · August 21, 2012