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Online Radio Listening Continues Steady Climb

Young listeners reign when it comes to determining online listening leaders

Listening via online radio continues to grow at a steady pace in the United States.

A recent study found that 62% of the population now turns to online radio (in the form of AM/FM radio stations or audio content that is being streamed online) according to the 2017 Infinite Dial Study, published by Edison Research and Triton Digital, which looked at audio and video streaming technologies.

In the last 17 years, consumption of online radio has grown steadily up from 5% in 2000 to 61% in 2017. Perhaps not surprisingly, young listeners aged 12–24 makeup the bulk of the consumption: 87% listeners in that age bracket said they listened to online radio in the last month. The numbers drop steadily based on age: with 70% of listeners in the 25–54 age range listening to online radio in the last month compared with 32% in the 55+ age range.

But those numbers are still rising across all age groups, if slowly. Last year, 31% of listeners in the 55+ range said they listened to online radio in the last month (compared to 32% this year), while 65% of those in the middle-age range said that online radio was on their audio menu in 2016 (compared with 70% this year).

The numbers are also rising when it comes to time-spent-listening. In 2008, listeners only spent about 6 hours in one week listening to online radio. That number more than doubled by 2017 with consumers spending about 14 hours listening per week.

There’s also been a sizable boost in online radio listening in the car. When asked the long-winded question “have you ever listened to internet radio in a car by listening to the stream from a cellphone that you have connected to a car audio system?”, a whopping 40% agreed, compared with only 6% in 2010.

The study also reported a significant gap when it comes to general awareness of streaming audio brands.

Topping the heap is Pandora; 86% of individual surveyed were aware of the Oakland-based brand. Awareness fell sharply from there, with iHeartRadio garnering 71%, Spotify earning 62%, Apple and Amazon sharing 60% awareness, and Google Play hitting 50% awareness. In the less than 20% range were services like NPROne, and NextRadio.

Pandora’s hold on the market might be slipping if the numbers are any indication. In the 2017 survey, 32% of listeners said they tuned into Pandora in the last month. That’s a slight dip from 2015 when the amount was 34%. In contrast, both Spotify and IHeartRadio saw their percentage numbers rise over the last two years, with Spotify moving from 10 to 18% from 2015 to 2017, and iHeartRadio moving steadily from 11 to 13%.

Spotify in particularly is proving popular with listeners in the 12–24 age range. Forty-five percent listened to the Stockholm-based streaming company in 2017, up from 23% in 2015.