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Radio Listening Still Beats YouTube When It Comes To Finding New Music: Study

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More Americans discover new music by listening to the radio, trumping all other mediums, according to a new Nielsen study on music consumption.

Forty-eight percent of people still find new artists on the radio, as compared to 10 percent through friends, and 7 percent through YouTube, with the remaining percentages divvied up between a myriad of other sources.

Those results may be surprising to some, considering how many online sources are available for new music discovery these days, but it makes sense, taking into account how pop stars are still heavily marketed to radio outlets. Top 40 stations still have a major effect on the nation's listening habits, added David Bakula, the senior vice president of client development at Nielsen.

"I think these results might be more surprising to people who are into music and tech and live on the coasts, but knowing how physical still outsells digital, I guess it doesn't surprise me," Bakula said.

Though music discovery may still happen most frequently via radio programs, overall consumption now occurs mostly through YouTube, according to the same study. Teens listen to music on YouTube more than on any other source, Nielsen concluded, more than on iTunes and on compact discs.

The study also found that CDs are still widely consumed, generally. Though teens preferred digital downloads overall, 36 percent of teens said they had purchased a CD in the past year.

"We thought digital was going to push the CD off the cliff," Bakula said, but the study proves that this is not necessarily the case.

Bakula suggested that the sheer number of options available for music consumption and discovery online -- Spotify, Vevo, YouTube, Pandora, etc. -- have become factors in the overall discussion, but still, the majority of people in the country prefer consuming music "traditionally."

"There are a lot more options for radio out there," Bakula said. "And probably a lot more people are listening to radio than ever before, in more demographics."

And it makes people happier than any other medium, at least according to a study out of the U.K. last year, which found that listening to the radio increased people's happiness levels more than watching TV or surfing the Internet.

"Why else do people listen to music radio, other than to get enjoyment out of it?" Boston College professor Michael C. Keith told HuffPost last year. "People don't listen to radio to be depressed, certainly not when it comes to entertainment radio or music radio. The whole idea of listening to radio is to gain companionship and, at the same time, enjoyment."

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