From RTR Countdown to YouTube

20:13, Aug 19 2012

Remember getting up early on a Sunday morning, remote in hand, ready to hit record the minute your favourite new song came on RTR Countdown?       

Robbie Rakete was there, with his awesome long hair and ace T-shirt/waistcoat combos, throwing out factual titbits about the Real McCoy's underrated hit Just Another Night.

For many people around my age, that was THE way to unearth - and fall in love with - new music. But the days of being pyjama-clad, musical explorers are long gone. While we might still have the odd hour of music TV here and there, chances are it's new technology that is behind finding new music these days.

Or is it? A recent survey of 3,000 Americans found that, actually, 48 per cent of them find new music through the radio, yes the R.A.D.I.O. How quaint, and kind of amazing. Just seven per cent discover it on YouTube.  

But when you get down to the nuts and bolts of listening to music, YouTube rules for teens, with 64 per cent of them using it as an online walkman, compared to 50 per cent who listen to CDs. But that might be because only 36 per cent of teens bought a CD in the past year.  

And isn't that sad? Instead of understanding the joy of flicking through record store stacks, it's all about clicking through files. Oh kids these days. I say that, but it turns out I'm not that unlike them.

I don't have a car, so I very rarely listen to the wireless; instead I rely heavily on my iPhone to spit out awesome things (that I have already magically loaded on there).  

When I do get behind the wheel, though, am I the queen of car karaoke or what? I am one of those appalling channel-surfers - I get bored easily or can't quite figure out what I want, so more often than not you'll find me flicking between bFM, ZM, Mai FM, RNZ and whatever else I can find, and it always leads me to shiny new things that I can take back to my computer and pay proper attention to.

But recently, within in the immobility of my own home, I have found myself having a fiddle with Spotify, and it's kind of amazing.

Instead of twiddling the radio tuner or scrolling through iTunes you can use it like a radio, but online. And without all the rubbish stuff. No ads (well, not many), you can follow a "like this"-style radio chain to find new stuff by people who sound just like music you already like.  

And maybe, when they do this survey in five years' time, that's exactly what we will all be doing on our iPhone 9s. Or maybe by then we will all have mandatory hovercraft cars with really good stereo systems and radio stations that don't have ads.

» Follow Bridget Jones on Twitter: @bridgeyjones

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