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Pandora, Smart Speakers and Other Surprises From The Infinite Dial Study

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For a number of years Edison Research has been conducting a study to measure media and tech consumptions in the US. The latest batch of info from the study reveals some surprising numbers regarding the use of Pandora and Smart Speakers.

Guest post by Bobby Oswinski of Music 3.0

For 20 years Edison Research has been conducting its Infinite Dial study that measures media and technology consumption in the United States. As always, the latest edition has a number of interesting discoveries, but it also identifies the new trends that may be in front of us, yet we find difficult to see. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Smart speakers are on the rise. This is a new category (which includes voice-controlled devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home), but at least for the time being, it appears to be a significant one. Today, 63% of Americans 12+ are aware of at least one device in this category, while 7%, an estimated 20 million Americans, live in households that have at least one smart speaker.
  • The Weekly Online Radio audience is now 140 million Americans, or 53% of Americans 12+. While experts continue to predict the demise of terrestrial radio, its online counterpart is beginning to thrive. 170 million people per month are now tuning in, and a surprising number of them are ages 12 to 24.
  • People now listen to online radio in the cars as well. 40% now listen to online radio while driving.
  • Time spent listening to online radio surged to an all-time high of 14:39 per week.
  • Pandora continues to lead in the online radio space. This is a surprise, but 32% of Americans have listened to Pandora in the past month. Spotify is coming on strong though, at 18%.
  • Social Media usage is beginning to consolidate around a few platforms. Facebook far and away continues to lead, and Twitter’s growth rate continuing to decline—especially in the critical 12-24 age range.
  • The 4 biggest streaming music brands are Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Apple Music, in that order. 32% of people listened to Pandora last month, while only 18% listened to Spotify.
  • The top sources of music discovery are: 1. Family and friends, 2. YouTube, 3. AM/FM radio, 4. Pandora, 5. Facebook.
What the Infinite Dial shows is that even though Pandora sometimes gets trashed in the press, it’s still a favorite of music consumers. Likewise, people still consume radio-like services and don’t mind when music is served up to them that they didn’t choose. You can look at all of the slides from the study here.

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