In Your Ear: The U.S. Audio Diet

A groundbreaking new study surveys for the first time what people like to listen to the most and how much they listen every day

Broadcast radio accounts for roughly half of the audio that Americans consume in a given day, according to a new study by Edison Research. What they listen to the rest of the time helps explain why Apple, Amazon, Google and others are launching or acquiring new digital music services.

Americans are clearly drawn to such digital music services as Pandora, iTunes Radio and Spotify. In total, consumers surveyed (age 13 and older) spent 22 percent of their listening time on new alternatives to AM/FM radio and purchased music. That's more than the time spent listening to "owned music," such as CDs and downloads, which account for 20 percent of listening.

Streaming services, from webcasters like Pandora to on-demand services like Spotify, account for 12 percent of listening time. Satellite radio service Sirius XM, which has nearly 26 million subscribers, accounts for 8 percent; podcasts account for 2 percent.

Expect the streaming numbers to rise. Another recent study, by Edison Research and Triton Digital, found that 47 percent of Americans age 12 and older, or roughly 124 million people, listen to music streaming services every month, up sharply from 27 percent in 2010.


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