Five Key Findings From the Q4 2019 Edison Share of Ear Study

Ron Rodrigues, SR Audio StrategistFeb 17, 2020

Edison Research’s Share of Ear has been tracking audio usage in the U.S. since 2014, and it’s latest Q4 2019 study underscores the ongoing changes in how we listen.

One thing is certain: the thirst for audio is more robust than ever. Americans listen to an average of four hours of audio per day. People who include digital in their audio diet – such as streaming, podcasts or satellite radio – devote an extra hour with audio, five hours per day.

Can I say that again? People who listen to digital audio devote an extra hour of their day with audio. Those five hours net out to nearly a third of our waking hours, and a testament to the higher engagement that comes with more personalized content.

Here are five other insights we gleaned from Edison Research’s Q4 2019 Share of Ear study:

  1. Streaming Audio Keeps Rolling: According to the Q4 study, people listened to 9% more pureplay streaming audio than they did a year earlier. That additional time came at the expense of AM/FM and other traditional options.
  2. Slowly but Surely, 25-54’s are Breaking Away from AM/FM: Coveted listeners age 25-54 used 9% less AM/FM than they did in the comparable 2018 study, adding to steep losses in previous years. They shifted that time to streaming audio and satellite radio.
  3. Digital Dominates In-Home Listening: Thanks in part to the surge of smart speakers and cord-cutting devices, digital audio has assumed an outsized proportion of audio time in the home. Over-the-air AM/FM captures barely a fifth of in-home audio time among persons aged 18-54; the other 78% of listening time goes to streamed audio, podcasts and personal music collections, among other options.
  4. Music Rules: Yes, podcasts are popular and they function as “talk radio” for the 21st Century. Still, 78% of American’s audio time is to music, the same share of listening as it was the year earlier.
  5. Pandora Leads the Addressable Market: For advertisers looking to reach customers at scale, this point matters. As waves of listeners spend more of their time with digital audio, keep in mind that Pandora is the No. 1 ad-supported digital brand, whose share of listening leads Spotify’s ad tier by 87% among total audience, and by 127% among 25-54s.

Want to learn more about the Share of Ear study or the Power of Audio as a marketing medium? Your Pandora rep can help, and so can I. Feel free to reach out.

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