Do Touch That Dial: In-Car Listening Finally Shifting

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While much has changed in the music industry over the past ten years, our listening habits while on the move have, until now, remained much the same. Historically AM/FM listening has dominated in the car but, while this is still somewhat true, traditional radio's grip on drivers seems to be loosening.

Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

Despite the rise of streaming, most recent studies have found that our automobile listening habits have been surprisingly consistent with the past. That now appears to be changing as found by a new study by Edison Research, which found that we’re now much less reliant on our AM/FM radios in our cars these days.

Interestingly, this study was based more on video evidence, with about a tenth of those surveyed having GoPro cameras installed in their cars to get a more accurate reference of exactly what they’re listening to. The study was based around commuters who had at least 20 minute drives to and from work.

The video found that 68% of drivers listened to AM/FM radio during their commutes, but that was down from 83% in 2015. 25% of the time was spent listening to streaming audio or podcasts. Surprisingly, Pandora was the top streaming service with 32% of commuters using the service in their cars, with Spotify next at 23% share, and Amazon Music with 11% (big surprise here).

The study found that people who listen to AM/FM radio while driving switch the channel more than 200% more than those who listened to other audio sources! 36% said they switched stations to avoid the commercials.

The study broke out the different listening patterns into three groups:
  • Restless commuters constantly switch audio sources. These tended to be persons between the age of 18-34, listening heavily to AM/FM in the during longer commutes, and find it “very important” to have an in-dash media system in their next vehicle.
  • Seekers only switch occasionally. These tend to be men aged 35-54 who listen to some AM/FM and some streaming in the car, have longer commutes, and find it “somewhat important” to have an in-dash system. 48% of commuters fall into this category.
  • Keepers rarely switch during their commutes. They tend to be men aged 55+ who listen to AM/FM almost all of the time, but have shorter commutes, higher incomes, and find it “not at all important” for their next car to have an in-dash system.
Maybe most telling is that 75% of employed Americans get much of their information about news, traffic, and music from their solo one-hour drives to and from work.

It took a while but our in-car listening habits are finally changing.

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This story appears courtesy of HypeBot.
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