YouTube “Listening” Decreases in 2020

Americans are spending less of their total listening time with YouTube in 2020, and YouTube as an audio-only source is reaching fewer Americans in 2020, according to two updated datasets from Edison Research. 

Known as the birthplace of the eponymous YouTube star as well as many a viral challenge, YouTube also functionally serves as a music delivery source.  The latest Share of Ear® data from Edison Research shows that Americans now spend 9% of their time spent listening to audio sources with YouTube, down from 11% in 2018. The decrease is driven primarily from younger demos, as those in the U.S. age 13-34 now spend 16% of their total audio time with YouTube, down from 20% in 2019. 

Not only is time spent listening to YouTube as an audio source lower year over year, but YouTube as a source for music or music videos is reaching fewer Americans according to The Infinite Dial® from Edison Research and Triton Digital. 2019 was a bit of a milestone for the YouTube measure, as 50% of those in the U.S. age 12+ had listened to music on YouTube in the last week. In 2020, 44% of the total U.S. population reported having used YouTube for music in the last week. 

This decrease in reach is also driven by younger demos, as was the case with time spent listening, as the number of 12-34-year-olds using YouTube for music in the last week fell 14% year over year, to 60% from 70%. Usage by 35-54-year-olds was down slightly to 53% from 56% year over year. 

As both Share of Ear and Infinite Dial have catalogued enormous gains for YouTube for music listening over the last decade, it is of note that we see some diminishment for the first time corroborated in both surveys.  (Note: data points from both surveys were captured prior to the onset of widespread COVID-19-related disruptions.)

For the latest on how Americans are discovering new music, join Edison Research VP Nicole Beniamini for New-Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial® Report, presented as a free webinar on Thursday, July 16th, at 1 PM EDT. Register for New-Music Seekers here.


New Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial® Report Save the Date

How do the ever-increasing opportunities for music listening influence how people discover new music?

Please join us on Thursday, July 16 at 1pm for the next installment in our Lunchtime Webinar series.

Click here to register for the New Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial® Report webinar

In this latest webinar, Edison Research VP Nicole Beniamini uses never-before-seen Infinite Dial insights from Edison Research and Triton Digital® to look at those who say staying up-to-date with music is very important to them. The report will explore who these new-music seekers are, what they’re listening to, and which sources they use to learn about music.

Streaming Accounts for 10% of Broadcast Radio’s Consumption during COVID-19 Disruptions

Most radio stations in the U.S. now can be heard online via a ‘stream’ in addition to over the air. Edison Research has been measuring the development of radio listening’s transition to the streaming environment ever since it began the Share of Ear® reports in 2014.

In the latest Share of Ear update done in May 2020, and amidst the disruptions caused by COVID-19, streaming hit double digits for the first time with 10% of AM/FM radio listening coming from streams versus 90% of listening on a traditional radio receiver.  The average for 2020 in total so far is 9% of listening to AM/FM audio sources coming from the streams.

The graph above shows the slow but consistent adoption of streaming as a percentage of all listening to radio station content.   

“Adoption of radio station streams continues to be slow,” said Laura Ivey, Director of Research at Edison Research.  “While it remains an area of opportunity for broadcasters, to date most people in the U.S. listen over the air when they are listening to AM/FM radio content.” Share of Ear clients can learn, among many other things, how radio fares on specific digital devices, such as smartphones, computers, internet-connected TVs, and smart speakers.   

“The statistics here represent the combination of music and spoken-word listening. Our research shows listening via streaming is higher for spoken-word radio stations such as news, public radio, talk and sports,” said Ivey, “while listening via streaming is lower for music radio stations.” 


Edison Research’s Ask Me Anything on Digital Audio

Many thanks to those of you who joined us for our first Ask Me Anything on Digital Audio webinar! We appreciate your time and we all had a great time answering your questions and talking about the research that means so much to us.

Below is a replay of the 30-minute webinar that ended up being almost an hour. If you have more questions, we would be happy to answer them at

Podcast Consumption in Australia Being Driven By Those Age 35-54

Whether it’s applying photo filters on Snapchat or sharing playlists on Spotify, new media behaviors are typically embraced by younger, more tech-savvy consumers first. Once a medium has become mainstream for the younger generation, it usually begins to trickle up to the older age groups. It is common for teenagers to introduce their parents to new music services or for children to teach their grandparents how to shoot a selfie. But does this age trend occur in the same direction for every platform, in every market?

In the latest findings from The Infinite Dial Australia 2020 report, Edison Research revealed a steady and continued growth in podcasting awareness and usage. Awareness of the medium rose even higher this year as 87% of Australians age 12+ reported being familiar with the term “podcasting,”  up from 83% in 2019. When broken out by age group, we see that nearly all of those age 12-54 are aware of podcasts (92%).

Overall, one-quarter of Australians age 12+ have listened to a podcast in the last month, with 35-54 year-olds reporting marginally higher monthly listening than their younger counterparts (31% to 28%, respectively). Monthly listening is half as large, however, among those age 55 and older, with only 14% of this age group saying they listened to a podcast in the last month.

Australians age 35-54 are also the most likely to be weekly podcast listeners, with 22% saying they listened to a podcast in the last week. This compares to the 18% of those age 12-34 and is nearly three times higher than the 8% of those age 55 and older who listened in the last week.

So what can these data tell us about the future of podcasting in Australia?

Well, we can see that unlike other media, podcast consumption is not being led by the youngest Australians. Instead, it’s the 35-54 year-olds who are driving the monthly and weekly listening. This is likely due to higher listening of AM/FM/DAB+ radio among this age group, coupled with a perception that podcasts are simply previously-aired radio programs available on-demand. But now that Spotify has become a hotspot for podcasts, we should expect to see an increase in podcast listening among 12-34 year-olds, Spotify’s core audience.

The second takeaway is that there is still plenty of room for growth among those age 55 and older. Despite the lower monthly and weekly podcast listening, the majority of those age 55 and older are already aware of the medium. Frequently reminding this group to listen, offering podcast discovery resources, and most importantly, creating more content for this demo could go a long way in increasing their consumption.

The Infinite Dial® Australia survey, conducted in the first quarter of 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic, is a high-quality telephone survey and uses a nationally representative survey of 1,014 people. The sample is a random probability telephone sample, comprised of both mobile phones and landlines, of all Australians ages 12 and older. The data is weighted to 12+ population figures.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space.  Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers. allows the company to conduct research in almost any location. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.