New-Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial Report

Twenty-four percent of Americans age 12+ say that it is very important” for them to learn about and stay uptodate with music, according to new research released from The Infinite Dial® study from Edison Research and Triton Digital®. 

Click here to download the New Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial Report 

Findings from never-before-seen research debuted in a webinarNew Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial Report, presented by Edison Research VP Nicole Beniamini. This new research explores how this 24% of America — the “new-music seekers” for whom learning about and staying uptodate with music is very important — listens to, discovers, and shares music.

As listeners age, fewer say it is very important to learn about and stay uptodate with music:
35% of those age 12-34 say it is very important, 25% of those age 35-54 say it is very important, and 10% of those age 55+ say it is very important. Nearly half of new-music seekers, 46%, are between the ages of 12-34, and 54% are 35+, so although interest in new music is more concentrated in very young demos, there are still large numbers of new-music seekers over the age of 35. 

New-music seekers are willing to pay for music services.  Forty-nine percent of new-music seekers have listened to Spotify in the last month, and of those, 45% have a paid subscription. More than one-third of new-music seekers say they have a subscription to SiriusXM, which is nearly double the percentage of the general population 12+. Many of these new-music subscribers are maintaining paid subscriptions to both SiriusXM AND a streaming music platform

Sources for new music discovery vary greatly depending on the age of the listener.
Overall, YouTube (68%) tops the list of sources that new-music seekers age 12+ say they use for music discoveryfollowed by friends and family (47%), and AM/FM radio (46%). The top three sources for music discovery are as follows for three different age groups: 

Listeners age 12-34: YouTube (72%), Spotify (51%) and friends and family (49%)
Listeners age 35-54: YouTube (64%), AM/FM radio (53%), and Facebook (45%)
Listeners age 55+: AM/FM radio (70%), YouTube (57%), friends and family (53%) 

“It’s surprising to see how high YouTube ranks for music discovery among all ages. This new research gives us a better grasp of just how important online platforms are for music discovery, especially among those who value new music. And while AM/FM radio is not so much a place to ‘learn about new music,’ our data shows that it’s still a place to ‘learn what the hits are,” said Beniamini.

Among the one-third of Americans age 12+ (33%), for whom learning about and staying up-to-date with music is “not at all important,” AM/FM radio tops the list as the source used most often for music discovery at 35%, followed by YouTube at 17%, and friends and family at 17%. 

Twenty-three percent of new-music seekers age 12-34 say they use video games as a way to learn about music.  Video games as a source of music discovery be surprising to some, but around half (51%) of new-music seekers watch live-streamed video gamesso they are exposed to music through that outlet as well.  

Music listening is a private experience for many new-music seekers. Sixty-seven percent of new-music seekers say they do most or all of their audio listening through headphones/earbuds, with 30% saying all of their audio listening is private. This is not limited to the youngest listeners, as even the majority of new-music seekers age 35-54 listen to most of their music through headphones/earbuds. Social media becomes important, then, as a way to share music, because 53% of new-music seekers say they currently use social media to share updates on music they are listening to with friends and family. 

How This Study Was Conducted
3,159 online interviews were conducted January and February, 2020, before COVID-19 disruptions. The online interviews are a supplement to The Infinite Dial telephone-based survey. The online survey was offered in both English and Spanish and iweighted to match the U.S. 12+ population.  

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space.  Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison 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, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election. 



U.S. Listeners’ Audio Day Starting Later During COVID-19 Disruptions

Half of those age 13+ now begin their audio day at 8:30am; before COVID was 7:15am 


New data from the Edison Research Share of Ear®  study, conducted during the period of COVID-19 disruptions, shows that people in the U.S. age 13 and older began listening to audio a full 75 minutes later on average, as compared to before the disruptions.   
The Share of Ear study, which requires respondents to keep a detailed daily diary of audio usage, shows that pre-COVID-19, the point in the day when 50% of those in the U.S. age 13+ recorded their first entry of their audio day was around 7:15am. During Q2 fielding of Share of Ear, it was not until 8:30am that half of respondents had recorded any audio usage. 

 “This finding challenges our thinking about how those in the U.S. listen to audio during traditional drive times,” said Edison Research Director Laura Ivey.  “With many people staying at home or working from home during Q2, they did not engage with audio as early as they did pre-COVID. This data shows that if Americans continue current work patterns, audio strategies may need to be adjusted.”

Share of Ear Q2 findings are based on interviews conducted mid-May, 2020.

While most of the findings are exclusive to Share of Ear subscribers, Edison Research is releasing several interesting data points for the audio industry to consider since the data provides insight into U.S. listener behavior during COVID-19 restrictions. 

Click here for more information on Share of Ear.


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.”