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Infinite Dial 2024: It’s Not Just Podcasts. Streaming Audio Also Hits Record Highs.

Listening to online audio reached a new peak this year, according to Infinite Dial 2024 from Edison Research. An estimated 218 million Americans, or 76% of the U.S. population, reported listening to online audio in the last month, marking a third consecutive year of growth. 

“The younger age group has been listening to online audio for most of their lives,” Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick said while presenting the new data at the Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles. In fact, 90% of 12–24-year-olds have listened to online audio in the last month. “Those ages 35 to 54 are not too far behind this younger group,” she added. In 2020, 81% of this demo were monthly online audio listeners. Last year it rose to 85% and held there for 2024. In fact, streaming audio is the norm across the 12-54 demographic spectrum with only five percentage points separating 12–34-year-olds (90%) from 35-54 year olds (85%). A little over half (52%) of Americans 55+ are monthly streaming audio listeners.

Edison defines online audio as any listening to the streams of AM/FM radio or listening to audio content available only on the internet.

For the growing number who stream audio, the practice has become habitual. Seven in ten Americans aged 12 and older use streaming audio each week. That means the online streams of radio and pureplays are now a fully mainstream channel for 201 million Americans 12+. “Online audio, which has been around for much longer than the podcast machine, has matured and done a great job of closing that gap between monthly and weekly listening,” Lazovick explained.

The pervasive habit has been helped by a half dozen platforms that have achieved awareness among at least seven in 10 Americans aged 12+. The streaming audio parade is led by Pandora (at 84% awareness), Spotify (81%), Apple Music (76%), iHeartRadio (74%), YouTube Music (74%), and Amazon Music (71%). 

Spotify leads in reported usage with 29% saying they listened to the streamer in the last week, followed by YouTube Music at 22%. 

Spotify is also the online audio brand used most often, driven in part by its grip on the 12-34 demo. But it's a tighter race among 35–54-year-olds with Spotify at 24%, YouTube at 23%, and Apple Music at 16%.

Usage of the major streaming platforms is more evenly distributed among the 55+ crowd. YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music and iHeartRadio each pull double-digit shares for the brand used most often with the 55+ crowd.

Audio books also reached a new high this year. Nearly four in ten Americans 12+ (38%) have listened to an audio book in the last year. That adds up to 109 million audio book listeners. 

The Infinite Dial is based on a national survey of 1,086 individuals aged 12 and older. The survey was conducted during January in both English and Spanish. The data was weighted to national 12+ U.S. population figures. This year’s report was produced with financial support of Audacy, Cumulus Media, and SiriusXM. 

Download the 2024 Infinite Dial HERE.

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