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Music On AM/FM Radio Gained Listeners In 2023, While Steaming Hit 90% Mark.

MusicWatch's just-out Annual Music Study for 2023 brings encouraging news for radio, with one of its many findings an uptick in broadcast listeners, while matching the results of other research as it shows AM/FM dominating the drive, used by 69% of in-car listeners.

The research, encompassing two surveys – MusicWatch's core study conducted online among 4,000 respondents 13 and older, and Audiocensus' study of 3,000 participants – also shows a steady gain of music streamers in the U.S. since 2020, reaching 91% of internet users in 2023.

“The top reason for music streaming is the ability to listen to music anyplace and anywhere,” MusicWatch Managing Partner Russ Crupnick says, while noting that eight in 10 streamers regularly listen to audio categories besides music, such as comedy, current events, and podcasts.

A sign of the times is hip-hop passing classic rock as the favorite music genre in the U.S., based on what respondents listen to, follow on social media, purchase, interact with on streaming services, or spend money on live events to see.

According to MusicWatch, paid music subscribers also hit a record high in 2023, at 109 million (136 million, if SiriusXM and Amazon Prime music listeners are included). Even with more than half the U.S. population paying for an audio subscription, Crupnick says there's still room to grow. “There is potential for additional subscription growth, though 7 of 10 Millennials already pay to subscribe,” he says. “This places a premium on moving GenZ from free to paid services, as well as converting the older and more resistant demographic.”

The study shows that recorded music in other formats also continues to grow, adding 10 million purchasers of CDs, vinyl records, digital downloads, or music streaming subscriptions in 2023. Spending on recorded music saw a 7% year-over-year lift, driven by all the above, save for digital downloads.

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