Edison Research’s quarterly “Share of Ear” study is the authoritative examination of American audio time use. Edison Research surveys 4,000 Americans to measure daily reach and time spent for all forms of audio.
The Q1 2022 report provides an opportunity to study listening among key voter segments and examine ad-supported audio use by location and demographic.
Here are the key findings:
Among registered voters, AM/FM radio has a massive 75% share of ad-supported audio
Across the political spectrum, AM/FM radio is by far the leader in ad-supported audio shares. AM/FM radio’s audience is 13 times bigger than Pandora and 19 bigger than Spotify.
AM/FM radio’s share is consistently strong among Independents, Republicans, and Democrats. Podcast shares are stronger among Democrats (14%) and Independents (11%) compared to Republicans (9%).
2020 vs. 2022: AM/FM radio shares are pandemic proof, podcasts surge, and Pandora collapses
Trending ad-supported audience shares from Q1 2020 to Q1 2022, AM/FM radio sees little change (78% to 76%). Podcast shares have surged (7% to 11%). Ad-supported Pandora’s shares are down -25% (8% to 6%). Spotify (4%) and SiriusXM’s (3%) ad-supported shares remain small.
AM/FM radio leads total ad-supported shares among key buying demographics; Podcast shares are greater than Spotify and Pandora combined
In the car, ad-supported AM/FM radio shares have hovered in the high 80s for the last six years
The “my niece/son/nephew/daughter” story
Advertisers often tell a story that goes something like this: “My niece/son/nephew/daughter is 23 and all they do in the car is listen to Spotify.” These “sample of one” tales are not representative of what is actually happening in America.
There has always been music listening in the car that is not supported by ads. Once it was CDs. Now it is music streaming that is not supported by ads. AM/FM radio dominates in-car ad-supported listening with nearly a 90% share.
When it comes to ad-supported audio in the car, AM/FM radio is the “queen of the road” with shares in the mid to upper 80s across every buying demographic
AM/FM radio dominates ad-supported audience shares in the car across all major buying demographics. Even among persons 18-34, AM/FM radio’s share is a whopping 85%, 85 times larger than Spotify’s one share.
When it comes to streaming, there is very little ad-supported listening occurring in the car. Podcasts’ in-car shares range from 3% to 8% and are growing, trouncing ad-supported streaming.
Back to the 23-year-old nephew. Yes, people listen to advertising-free music in their car. People have listened to “their music” in their car for 50 years. If advertisers want to actually reach people with advertising in their vehicle, these in-car ad-supported shares from “Share of Ear” are a great media planning tool.
Most Americans only listen to AM/FM radio and never listen to Pandora and Spotify
Edison examined the duplication in listening between leading audio platforms. In a typical day, most Americans only listen to AM/FM radio and never listen to other platforms. Take the example of Spotify:
- 83% of persons 18+ only listen to AM/FM radio and not Spotify
- 9% listen to both AM/FM radio and Spotify
- 9% listen only to Spotify and not AM/FM radio
A strong AM/FM radio campaign will deliver half of Spotify’s audience at no cost due to duplicated audiences.
Over six years, the proportion of AM/FM radio listening occurring via online streaming has surged from 8% to 15%
According to Nielsen, 10% of radio listening is to the AM dial. Currently, there is more radio listening occurring via the stream (15%) than the entire AM dial. Smart advertisers should allocate 15 cents out of every dollar spent on AM/FM radio to the station stream.
AM/FM radio leads ad-supported listening on the smart speaker with a 43% share
35% of U.S. homes now own a smart speaker, which has brought AM/FM radios back into the home. AM/FM radio stations have aggressively promoted how to listen to their audio stream via smart speaker. These strong promotion efforts have paid off as AM/FM radio has a 43% share of ad-supported audio on the smart speaker.
- Among registered voters, AM/FM radio has a massive 75% share of ad-supported audio
- 2020 vs. 2022: AM/FM radio shares are pandemic proof, podcasts surge, and Pandora collapses
- AM/FM radio leads total ad-supported shares among key buying demographics while podcast shares are greater than Spotify and Pandora combined
- In the car, ad-supported AM/FM radio shares have hovered in the high 80s for the last six years
- Most Americans only listen to AM/FM radio and never listen to Pandora and Spotify
- Over six years, the proportion of AM/FM radio listening occurring via online streaming has surged from 8% to 15%
- AM/FM radio leads ad-supported listening on the smart speaker with a 43% share
Download the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group® analysis report of Edison Research’s “Share of Ear”:
Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group®.
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.