The Number of Americans Paying for Audio Subscriptions Has Doubled Since 2015

Edison Research recently published a fascinating tidbit from our Share of Ear® series: The portion of the American population that is paying for an audio subscription of some kind has doubled since 2015, and is now almost half of everyone (47%).

There is a lot that is contributing to this growth.  First, it’s important to emphasize this is not a measure of subscriptions, it is a measure of people. If two people share a log-in or an account, that’s one subscription but two people who would say “yes” to subscribing.

The biggest factor is almost assuredly the transfer of monies that once went to purchasing physical music product (think CDs) that now goes to paid music subscriptions to Spotify, Apple Music and others.

Nearly as crucial to the rise is the ever-growing factor of SiriusXM.  By far the largest single subscription audio product in the U.S., every year it just keeps adding to its base as new cars roll off the lot.

Even smaller niche products like Audible add to the picture, and the coming wave of podcast subscription products may tempt even more people to start paying for an audio product.  The number will almost surely pass 50% of Americans paying something for audio in the next year or two.

Here are some things one might want to ponder:

It’s not that many years ago that this number would have been essentially zero.  Satellite Radio really pioneered the space, and it didn’t exist in the 20th Century.

Audio joins the long list of products that once were ‘free’ (at least for the cost of a transistor radio or the car that surrounded it, or for the internet connection one was already paying for), which people now choose to pay for.  Just like bottled water.  And of course first cable and satellite television and then streaming video.

Even when competing with “free”, as always these products come down to value.  If you really wanted your MTV, you paid for cable.  If you really want on-demand music or products without commercials or just more choice or convenience, these subscriptions are really not so expensive as to inhibit purchase for a lot of people.  And it’s likely that the incredible growth of Netflix and other video products have trained consumers to pay a few bucks a month for things they like.

One of broadcast radio’s primary sales arguments has long been that it is free.  And while this remains true, it is clearly a diminishing selling point.  The at-times extreme level of commercial content that many American radio stations run has probably helped change the value proposition around commercial-free products.

Bauer Media, one of the main broadcast radio companies in the U.K., is now offering a subscription service of their own.  For a small monthly fee, a consumer can now stream all the Bauer stations with no commercials plus access other exclusive content.  This seems an ingenious strategy that American commercial radio companies should at least be considering.

One of the biggest mistakes in business (a mistake I have made myself) is assuming that under no circumstances will people pay for something they already get for free. In a rather short period of time, almost 90% of American households went from only getting television from “rabbit ears” to signing up for cable or satellite, because the value was there.

Think about the audio space.  Between illegal downloads of digital music and broadcast radio, there has long been tons of ‘free’ content available.  And yet, people pay.  Endless billions of dollars — as long as they continue to provide value.

Clubhouse Users in America

Fifteen Percent of Social Media Users 18+ Have Ever Used Clubhouse; Demographics Revealed
Edison Research presents first demographic research on users of social audio service 

According to a new study from Edison Research entitled “Clubhouse Users in America,” 15% of social media users 18+ say they have ever used Clubhouse, the invitation-only audio-based social networking platform that debuted last year. Data for this first look at Clubhouse users is from Edison Research’s weekly social media tracking service, The Social Habit, which provides ongoing behavior and usage data for all major social media platforms.

Click here to download Clubhouse Users in America

Scroll down to view a replay of the webinar

Although Clubhouse has a relatively small number of users compared to other social media networking services, it has garnered significant attention due to its premise of shared audio spaces and the exclusive nature of its invitation-only membership. Clubhouse Users in America found that the percentage of social media users who use Clubhouse remained relatively flat over the survey period (Feb 2021 – Apr 2021) and that time spent using the service declined in April. However, those that do use the service use it often, with 44% of Clubhouse users saying they use the service at least once per day, and 28% saying they use it at least once per week.

Demographics of Clubhouse users:

  • 66% of Clubhouse users are male
  • 56% of Clubhouse users are age 18-34, 42% are age 35-54, 2% are age 55+
  • 59% are White, 19% Hispanic/Latino, 17% Black

The study also found that current Clubhouse users index very highly for household income and education, and are far more likely to identify as Liberal than the general population.

“Clubhouse has been an iPhone-only service up until now,” noted Edison Research SVP Tom Webster, “and as a result, the audience for the service is not as diverse as we see in the leading social platforms.”

Click here for more information on The Social Habit.

How the study was conducted
Clubhouse Users in America data was derived from The Social Habit, a weekly online tracking study of social media users in America ages 18+. The total sample comprised 4557 social media users. Interviews were conducted between February 15th and April 26th.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of commercial clients, governments, and NGOs, including AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, BBC, The Brookings Institution, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, Voice of America, The New York Times, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Spotify, SiriusXM Radio, and UnidosUS. Edison Research is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, PodcastOne, Slate, Spotify, Stitcher/Midroll, ESPN, WNYC Studios, Wondery, and many more companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison Research is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison Research is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, consisting of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, conducting exit polls and collecting real-time vote results in all 50 states.

The Infinite Dial 2021 Canada

Smart Speaker Ownership, Podcast Listening Remain Robust Among Canadians

Click here to download The Infinite Dial 2021 Canada in English
Click here to download The Infinite Dial 2021 Canada French

Scroll down to watch a replay of the webinar

Smart speaker ownership and podcast listening remain robust among Canadians despite COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, according to The Infinite Dial 2021® Canada from Edison Research and Triton Digital®

Twenty-seven percent of Canadians 12+ own a smart speaker, up one percentage point from 2020, and smart speaker households in Canada now own an average of 1.8 of the devices, up from 1.7 in 2020.

Podcast listening saw slight movement as monthly podcast listeners increased one percentage point to 38% of all Canadians 12+ compared to 37% in the 2020 survey. 

Although podcasting’s reach saw only a slight increase since last year, engagement remains strong, with 76% of podcast listeners typically listening to all or most of the podcast episode, and weekly podcast listeners consuming an average of five podcasts per week.

Online audio reach has remained consistent as well, as 71% of Canadians age 12+ are monthly online audio listeners, compared to 70% in 2020. 

Spotify is in a dominant position among online brands as 30% of those in Canada age 12+ have used Spotify in the last month, with the next-highest brand being YouTube Music at 15%. Spotify is also the biggest mover in this year’s survey, as forty-one percent of Canadians 12+ say Spotify is the online audio brand they use most often, up from 37% in 2020 and 32% in 2019. 

“The pandemic disrupted people’s lives in some very significant ways,” noted Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. “The fact that so many of the key audio metrics we track remained stable in the face of these disruptions really speaks to the continued importance of online audio and podcasting in the lives of Canadians.” 

“With more than 7 in 10 Canadians 18+ listening to online audio each month, the results of this year’s survey underscore the role that that this highly-engaging medium continues to play in the daily lives of consumers,” said Stephanie Donovan, SVP, Publisher Development at Triton Digital.  “Canadians of all ages continued to turn to both streaming audio and podcasts for education, information, and entertainment, even during a year of unprecedented change.” 

Other findings of The Infinite Dial 2021 Canada include: 

  • 77% of Canadians age 12+ have driven or ridden in a car in the last month, down dramatically from 92% in 2020, reflecting the change in habits of Canadians due to quarantine restrictions. 
     
  • Almost one-fourth (24%) of Canadians who have ridden or driven in a car in the last month own an in-dash information and entertainment system.
     
  • When asked what time spent with online audio is replacing, 31% said it replaced time with over-the-air AM/FM radio, 30% said owned music, 4% said SiriusXM and 35% said it is “new time” not taken from another medium. 
     
  • 48% of podcast listeners listen to podcasts produced by Canadians.


How the study was conducted
In February 2021, Edison Research conducted a national telephone survey of 1,001 people aged 18 and older, using random digital dialing techniques to both mobile phones and landlines. The survey was offered in both English and French. Data is weighted to national 18+ population figures.  

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of commercial clients, governments, and NGOs, including AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, BBC, The Brookings Institution, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, Voice of America, The New York Times, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Spotify, SiriusXM Radio, and UnidosUS. Edison Research is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, PodcastOne, Slate, Spotify, Stitcher/Midroll, ESPN, WNYC Studios, Wondery, and many more companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison Research is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison Research is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, consisting of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, conducting exit polls and collecting real-time vote results in all 50 states. 

About Triton Digital
Triton Digital® is the global technology and services leader to the digital audio and podcast industry. Operating in more than 80 countries, Triton provides innovative technology that enables broadcasters, podcasters, and online music services to build their audience, maximize their revenue, and streamline their day-to-day operations. In addition, Triton powers the global online audio industry with Webcast Metrics®, the leading online audio measurement service and Podcast Metrics, one of the first IAB certified podcast measurement services in the industry. With unparalleled integrity, excellence, teamwork, and accountability, Triton remains committed to connecting audio, audience, and advertisers to continuously fuel the growth of the global online industry. For more information, visit www.TritonDigital.com. 

Moms and Media 2021

Moms and Media 2021 reflects a year of adjustment in media usage and consumption resulting from a new, at-home lifestyle in the wake of COVID-19.

The latest installment of the annual report combines data from the Infinite Dial® series from Edison Research and Triton Digital, with recent data from Edison Research’s new ongoing syndicated measurement of social media, The Social Habit. With both studies conducted during the pandemic, the data shows how media habits have changed as a result of being home.  The report showcases how Moms in the United States maintain their mobile tendencies and rely on devices and technology to manage the new normal.  In addition, it sheds light on how moms view their children’s social media usage in regard to their adjustment of being in a pandemic.

To download the full Moms and Media 2021 report, click here.

To watch a replay of the webinar, scroll down.

Smart speakers have proven themselves as little (or big!)  helpers.  Whether it is adding to a grocery list, getting information or even setting an alarm for kids to log back into remote school, smart speakers check those boxes and more.  With hands free help, these devices are becoming part of the family.   In 2021, 46% of moms reported owning some kind of smart speaker, up from the 33% we saw in 2020.

 

Smart Speakers surge among Moms

When it comes to smart speakers, more is better for most moms.  The majority of smart speaker moms (58%) own two or more smart speakers.  The average number of smart speakers in the home is 2.7.

With the ability to place these in multiple locations around the house, mom has coverage even when she is moving from room to room.

 

Number of Smart Speakers among Moms

 

While moving room to room in makeshift, shared workspaces around the house, moms embrace the devices that help smooth the transition and quiet the noise.  With a year of video calls and online school at home, earphones are a must.   61% of moms reported owning wireless earphones or headphones.

 

Moms own wireless earphones

 

Devices are necessary but without the Internet to power them they aren’t nearly as functional.  The internet is taking the biggest piece of moms’ media time, with moms in 2021 reporting they spend 4 hours and 16 minutes daily using the internet.  That is 23 minutes more than what they reported in 2020.

 

Moms spend more time on the internet than in 2020

 

 

Over the last year, children were also adjusting to new habits due to the pandemic. Without in-person school or extracurricular activities, there was limited social interaction for children.  The mental health implications of this have been in the spotlight and a big driver of getting kids back to in-person school where possible. Social media moms look to social media to help with this for their children.   Half of social media moms agree that social media is helping their children cope during the pandemic.

 

Moms agree that social media helps children cope

 

 

Click here for more on The Research Moms at Edison Research

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of commercial clients, governments, and NGOs, including AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, BBC, The Brookings Institution, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, Voice of America, The New York Times, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Spotify, SiriusXM Radio, and UnidosUS. Edison Research is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, PodcastOne, Slate, Spotify, Stitcher/Midroll, ESPN, WNYC Studios, Wondery, and many more companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison Research is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison Research is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, consisting of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, conducting exit polls and collecting real-time vote results in all 50 states.

Radio: Live On Air and Everywhere from NPR and Edison Research

NPR and Edison Research today released the findings of their first-ever study of its kind on radio — which identifies six segments of radio listeners, their listening behaviors and their attitudes towards advertising.

Click here to download Radio: Live On Air and Everywhere from NPR and Edison Research

The study, titled “Radio: Live on Air and Everywhere” reveals that radio plays an important role in the lives of consumers and that the majority of radio listeners are receptive to sponsorship messages on the platform. The findings were presented in a webinar hosted by NPR VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and is available now at http://npr.org/radioiseverywhere.

Approximately 156 million people age 18+ – 63% of U.S. adults – listen to AM/FM radio daily, and listeners are driven to the medium for myriad reasons. The study finds that the heaviest users of radio are the most open to its advertising messages. Two of the six segments of listeners, “Radio Heads” and “Connection Seekers,” the groups that spend the most time with radio, are the least likely to avoid ads or sponsorship messages on AM/FM radio.

The six radio listener segments identified are:

  • Radio Heads (9% of radio listeners) Listen for all audio needs; listen to the most radio
  • Connection Seekers (16% of radio listeners) Listen for company and connection
  • Infomaniacs (18% of radio listeners) Listen for their need to consume news and information 
  • Rhythm Rockers (27% of radio listeners) Listen for their need to consume music 
  • Laidback Listeners (17% of radio listeners) Listen to radio only in the background 
  • Habitualists (13% of radio listeners) Listen to radio when it is the only option available 

Regardless of segment, 47% of radio listeners overall agree that listening to ads is a fair tradeoff to consume the free content. Almost half of all AM/FM radio listeners (46%) say they have considered a new company, product, or service after hearing an ad on the radio. 

NPR Radio listeners show a particularly strong engagement with radio and its sponsorship messages: with 46% agreeing that they are more likely to trust a company they hear advertised on NPR and 59% agreeing that NPR engages their mind in a more positive way than other media does. NPR listeners are more likely to be Infoseekers (26% of all NPR listeners), Connection Seekers (19%), and Radio Heads (15%)  than the average radio listener.    

Although often eclipsed in the media by other audio platforms, AM/FM radio commands 41% of all time spent listening to audio by those in the U.S. age 18+. Even with the growth in available online audio and other options, this new research finds that 33% of AM/FM radio listeners say the platform is becoming a more important part of their lives.  

“NPR has been a leader in radio for 50 years, with programming airing across more than 1000 member stations nationally,” said NPR VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson. “And while we all can agree that radio certainly has had an amazing legacy – we’re thrilled to see it also has a very vibrant future, with dedicated listeners who are especially engaged with radio’s content, including advertising and sponsorship messages.”

According to Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick, “Even in a world where people have many audio options, radio is by far the most listened-to in terms of reach and the most-used in terms of time. Don’t take for granted the fact that radio is everywhere – providing enormous audiences and engaged responses from tens of millions of people, every hour of every day.” 

How the study was conducted
Radio: Live On Air and Everywhere from NPR and Edison Research is based on a national online survey of 1,500 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted January 13-21, 2021. All respondents reported listening to AM/FM radio (traditional or streamed) in the last week. Data was weighted to match the sex, age, and ethnicity of AM/FM radio weekly listeners from The Infinite Dial from Edison Research and Triton Digital.  Edison Research Share of Ear®: A total of 4,000+ respondents age 13+ completed an online or offline survey which was offered in English and Spanish. Data weighted to national 12+ U.S. population estimates and has been tracked since 2014.

About NPR
NPR, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, is widely known for its rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling that connects with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in-person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now on smart speaker devices — where listeners can simply say, “Play NPR” to tune into their local Member station’s live stream. Users can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast on screened speakers. For more information visit npr.org/about and follow NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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.

Contacts, Press Only:    

Devon Landis
National Public Media at NPR
(202) 513-3490
dlandis@nationalpublicmedia.com

 Laura Ivey
Edison Research
(908) 707-4707
livey@edisonresearch.com