This is from the website Hypebot: According to a Bridge Ratings study of internet radio listeners, 60 Million Americans Listen To Internet Radio during an average week. 84% of those regularly listen to online simulcasts of terrestrial radio and 62% listen to net only stations. The study predicts that by 2015, 77 million Americans will be regular listeners of net radio, and by 2016 net-only radio and terrestrial simulcasts will have equal online listenerships.
Internet Radio Stations Play More Artists Than Broadcast Stations according to data supplied by Streamsurf, from a blog post by Audio4Cast. Internet Radio Stations Are the New Wave is a post from the New York Times.
What this means for the indie artist? It does not take a brain surgeon to figure out that this is a niche to jump aboard and take advantage of. However, I can tell you from personal experience that it is alot of work getting your work submitted and played, etc. However, I must mention a great resource that will help you right off the bat, as it did Ockum's Razor. If you are a rock, metal, or just plain brutal sounding band this is for you. (Please note that he is working on expanding genres and starting to add pop, etc.) Official Metal Castle has a blog with over a hundred stations and dj's for you to submit music to. All that you need to know is that you must follow the provided guidelines by that particular station or dj in doing so. This does not guarantee you will get played, but I know some are always on the hunt for new music. Make sure to have your song in MP3 format and tag it to their guidelines. For example, OckumsRazor__JigOfTheJuggernaut and this will quickly allow them to see what artist and what song title you are providing them. Happy submitting!