There are now nearly 1.4 million podcasts, including 107,247 shows that are classified as a music podcast, according to the podcast search engine Listen Notes. Newly released research findings from Edison Research make a case for why there is an opportunity for the number of music podcasts to grow.
The analysis is based on the 3,159 online interviews conducted in January and February by Edison for its annual Infinite Dial report, focusing on the quarter (24%) of Americans aged 12 and older who said it is “very important” for them to learn about and stay up to date with music. Edison found that among that subset of people, a majority (52%) report they had listened to a podcast in the car in the 30 days before the survey was taken. That was more than the percentage who said they had listened to online radio, used a CD player or turned to SiriusXM. In fact, the only media to have more in-car consumption for these music-focused consumers was the king of the road – AM/FM radio – and owned digital music, typically mp3s downloaded to their smartphone or music “saved” on a streaming service playlist.
Who are those podcast listeners? Edison finds that among those who say keeping up with music trends is important, podcast listening is most prevalent among 12- to 34-year olds. Nearly six in ten of that age group said they listened to a podcast while driving or riding in a car during the past month. That should not be terribly surprising since among that age group overall, Edison said 14% reported podcasts are their most used in-car media.
Yet about half of 35- to 54-year-old music aficionados said they listened to a podcast while in the car, despite the fact just seven percent of that age group overall report podcasts are their go-to while in a vehicle. And a love of new music does not always fade with age, either. The data shows nearly a third of those 55 and older who seek out new music said they listened to a podcast while in the car.
Overall, Edison says, 10% of new music seekers aged 18 and older reported podcasts were their most often used source of audio while in the car during the month before the survey was conducted. That compares to two percent among those who said it is not all that important to stay up to date with music.
Beyond podcasting, Edison found platforms used for new music discovery among this slice of the population varied greatly depending on the age of the listener. While YouTube (68%) topped the list of sources that new-music seekers say they use for music discovery overall, AM/FM radio is among the top three choices for all demos except 12-34, and AM/FM rises to the top among listeners age 55 and older at 70%.
What about those who aren’t as focused on discovering new music? Edison said AM/FM radio topped the list as the source used most often for music discovery at 35%, followed by YouTube at 17%, and friends and family at 17%.
“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,” said Edison Research VP Nicole Beniamini. “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.”
The New-Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial Report is based on 3,159 online interviews conducted in January and February 2020 before the COVID-19 disruptions, as a supplement to the Infinite Dial telephone-based survey. The online survey was offered in both English and Spanish and is weighted to match the U.S. 12+ population. Download a copy of the report HERE.