That’s what the iHeartMedia CEO told NBC News Senior Media Editor Claire Atkinson in an interview Tuesday. And, Pittman said, people don’t quite appreciate the nuance of it. So he explained the nuance. “There are two parts to the audio sector. There’s radio and a music collection, both have done well over the years. The music collection side of the equation has been impacted by technology and it has transformed it. Spotify is really winning the music collection side of things.”
Pittman also said radio is benefiting from the technology revolution. “It’s added more and more ways to listen to the radio on hundreds of new platforms and thousands of new devices, from smart speakers to smart TVs and game players. iHeart is leading the radio side of things.”
And, Pittman said the adoption of smart speakers has been very important for radio. “It has replaced the home radio. We were having a problem. It’s hard to find a plain old radio anymore, and now we have one. The number one use is AM/FM radio, and number two is check the weather, number three is a reminder, and then we get down to the streaming music services. It has replaced the clock radio. We envision it’s probably going to cars.”
When Atkinson asked Pittman about the misconceptions about radio versus the big streaming companies Pittman said a lot has to do with discovery. “Between 70 and 80 percent of Spotify users say the main way they discover music is FM Radio. Things haven’t changed, you know. In the old days we’d hear it on the radio and buy a CD or a download. Now you hear it on the radio and you put it on your Spotify playlist. They’re the most important part of the music collection sector, and we are the most important part of the radio sector. The number of people we reach eclipses their reach in the United States by a mile. More people listen to the radio than have a music collection. There are 275 million people listening to us and maybe 80 million to Spotify. It’s not even half yet. If you look in the car, the streaming services all combined are probably a little below CDs. We keep it in perspective. There was a study on trust, and the most trusted of all media is radio.”
In the interview Pittman also had praise for the jobs Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei and SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer were doing and told Atkinson he (Pittman) was the CEO that had the hardest job in media.
Check out the full interview HERE.