For 20 years Edison Research has been conducting its Infinite Dial study that measures media and technology consumption in the United States. As always, the latest edition has a number of interesting discoveries, but it also identifies the new trends that may be in front of us, yet we find difficult to see. Here are some of the highlights.
• Smart speakers are on the rise. This is a new category (which includes voice-controlled devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home), but at least for the time being, it appears to be a significant one. Today, 63% of Americans 12+ are aware of at least one device in this category, while 7%, an estimated 20 million Americans, live in households that have at least one smart speaker.
• The Weekly Online Radio audience is now 140 million Americans, or 53% of Americans 12+. While experts continue to predict the demise of terrestrial radio, its online counterpart is beginning to thrive. 170 million people per month are now tuning in, and a surprising number of them are ages 12 to 24.
• People now listen to online radio in the cars as well. 40% now listen to online radio while driving.
• Time spent listening to online radio surged to an all-time high of 14:39 per week.
• Pandora continues to lead in the online radio space. This is a surprise, but 32% of Americans have listened to Pandora in the past month. Spotify is coming on strong though, at 18%.
• Social Media usage is beginning to consolidate around a few platforms. Facebook far and away continues to lead, and Twitter’s growth rate continuing to decline—especially in the critical 12-24 age range.
• The 4 biggest streaming music brands are Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Apple Music, in that order. 32% of people listened to Pandora last month, while only 18% listened to Spotify.
• The top sources of music discovery are: 1. Family and friends, 2. YouTube, 3. AM/FM radio, 4. Pandora, 5. Facebook.
What the Infinite Dial shows is that even though Pandora sometimes gets trashed in the press, it’s still a favorite of music consumers. Likewise, people still consume radio-like services and don’t mind when music is served up to them that they didn’t choose. You can look at all of the slides from the study here.