Country Radio Plays Less Variety Than Streamers


That’s one conclusion from a new study released by P1 Media Group and MRC Data/Nielsen Music. The study focused on the growth of country music on streaming platforms and how that’s impacting radio. 

P1 Media Group co-founder Ken Benson says if you are programming a Country radio station today, the streaming audience is impossible to ignore with more than half of Country radio listeners between the ages of 18 to 44 reporting streaming music via an on-demand music service every day. “With so many Country radio listeners using on-demand streaming services, we examined the differences between what radio is playing versus listener choices using on-demand audio streaming services.”

 Here are the highlights from the study: 

  • Streaming to Country Music grew by 36% from 2018 to 2019.
  • 85% of Country Radio P1s between the ages of 18 to 44 report streaming to an on-demand audio service either “every day” or “a few a day’s a week.”
  • Radio is playing more contemporary music than on-demand Streaming services. 70% of radio’s Top 100 most-played songs are from 2018 and 2019 versus only 55% of songs from on-demand streaming services.
  • Radio relies more on Core Artists playing more songs from fewer artists while on-demand streaming services play more unique artists.
  • Radio plays less variety than the on-demand streaming services. Of the Top 500 songs on Country radio, 62% of the total spins come from the Top 100 songs versus only 46% for on-demand streaming.
  • The responses from Country Radio P1 listeners indicates that Country stations either missed or underplayed the biggest hit of 2019 “Old Town Road.”



  1. It depends on what you consider “variety.” The fact that the Top 20 right now contains artists from the ages of 19 to 57. From the most traditional to the most pop. From male to female. There is a lot of variety for people who want variety. That’s actually what differentiates country music from other radio formats. Compare country to CHR, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Sure country radio doesn’t play everything. That’s not the point. People can stream whatever they want. It’s not a one-or-the-other thing. But country radio plays a wide variety of music, covering the most popular songs and artists. And it works. Where other formats are struggling, country radio is thriving.


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