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Audio Across the Generations

Jacobs Media report looks at how Gen Z, Gen X, Millennials and Boomers get their audio fix

Listening habits vary wildly across the generations — except, apparently, when it comes to respect for the turntable.

That’s the takeaway from a new report released by the research and consulting firm Jacobs Media Strategies, which asked more than 51,000 respondents about their listening habits. Those results have been released in the Jacobs Media 2017 Techsurvey 13.

While the mantle of satellite radio listening has been picked up and carried by older male listeners, the online streaming of audio hits smack in the purview of younger generations.

A whopping 81% of Gen Z listeners stream audio at least once a week, followed by Millennials (73%) and then Gen X (64%). Boomers trail in this listening trend at 50%. The numbers are fairly split across male and female, with 59% of male listeners and 57% of female listeners dipping into the audio streaming pool at least once a week or more.

Of those that do, 39% are doing so daily, followed by 19% who listen to online audio streams weekly. But there’s still a sizable chunk of the market that doesn’t listen at all: 19% of the 51,000 respondents surveyed in the Techsurvey 13 said they’ve never listened this way. Not once.

Nearly six in 10 respondents stream audio at least once a week, especially the younger generations. Source: Jacobs Media Strategies Techsurvey 13

There’s also a fairly big difference between generations who say they’re addicted to their mobile phones — which is increasingly important for stations looking to move into podcast creation. Sixty-three percent of Millennials say they strongly identify with the idea that they’re addicted to their mobile device, followed by Gen Z at 56% and Gen X at 59%. In this survey, women had a stronger hold than men: 49% of women said they were hooked on their mobile device, as opposed to 36% of men.

Getting old school, it’s both the Boomers and the Millennials that have invested in the old-fashioned turntable. Forty-two percent of Boomers say they own one, with 28% of Gen Xers saying they have one at home.

In Part VI of this multipart series, Radio World will look at the websites and technologies that listeners are turning to when it comes to consuming audio and learning about new music.