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By Larry Rosin, Edison Research President
In early 2014, Disney released the single “Let it Go” from their smash-hit animated film “Frozen.” If you had a child in the right age group at the time, especially with daughters, you were quite possibly driven crazy by having to hear that song over and over again. That listening, however, was more likely than not to be happening from an owned recording of the song, either from a download or a CD. As such, since these listens were outside the purview of Billboard Magazine’s systems, the song peaked at #5 on their Hot 100 in the United States.
At nearly the exact same time, Edison Research began its Share of Ear project, the first and still only measurement of the entire audio space in America. And in 2014, listening to owned music had a 45% greater share of time spent with audio compared to time spent with streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and their ilk.
Fast forward to 2022, and Disney did it again with “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from “Encanto.” Just the same, children drove parents bats asking to hear the song over and over. But by now the technology had significantly changed. Per Share of Ear, when ‘Bruno’ burst into popularity, time spent with streaming audio more than doubled time spent with owned music (see graph nearby). Now, with so many of the plays and replays of this song happening from Spotify or by asking Alexa, Billboard had the song much more fully in their sights.
The result? Bruno topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks.
Which song actually got played and heard more? We will never know.
But what we do know is what Share of Ear shows us quite clearly, the manner in which today’s consumer accesses music on-demand has changed dramatically, and the trend shows no sign of slowing.
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About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including AMC Theatres, Apple, Amazon, Disney, Facebook, Google, Oracle, Pandora, Sony and Univision. Edison Research’s The Infinite Dial® research series has been the survey of record for digital audio, social media, podcasting, smart speakers, and other media-related technologies since 1998. The study is now also conducted Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In 2014, the company introduced Share of Ear®, a quarterly survey that serves as the only single-source measure of all audio in the U.S. Edison Research is the leading podcast research company in the world, producing the only survey-based data on podcast listening in the U.S, Edison Podcast Metrics, and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, Spotify, SXM Media, ESPN, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls, tabulated national vote across every county in the United States, and projections and analysis for every presidential primary and general election.