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Looking inside the data, we can see that mobile listening had surpassed ‘radio set’ listening long ago in every location except the car, where listening on a radio far surpasses the listening that happens from connecting one’s phone to the car system, or perhaps a teenager in the backseat with earbuds in.
And yet, when we look at the in-car environment, we see that slowly but surely, listening on the phone is chipping away at listening to a ‘radio.’ (Listening to SiriusXM, another major player in the car, is not considered ‘listening to a radio set’ for this analysis.)
As of today, listening on a radio exceeds phone-listening by 2½ : 1. But as the graph below shows, every time we update our data, the mobile device number inches forward a little more. The margin has shrunk from 62 percentage points in 2015 to 35 points today. At the current pace, it will still be years before the mobile device is the leader in the car that it is at home, at work, and other places.
But like Pac-Man, every day this device munches away a few more dots of listening. The battle for the future of audio consumption is the battle on the phone, at least until some other kind of device comes around to eat its own dots along the way.