The streaming music industry is heating up in the US, with over half of US consumers estimated to access online radio services on a weekly basis in 2017, according to a new survey from Edison Research. In fact, the survey estimates that 148 million people used online radio each week in early 2017, an important milestone as this marks the first time online radio penetration will cross the 50% threshold.

Online Radio

Here are a few more observations from the new study:

  • An overwhelming majority of younger users frequent online radio. When surveyed in early 2017, 83% of 12-24 year olds said they'd used an online radio service in the past week, a ten-percentage-point increase from 73% in 2016. For marketers looking to target this coveted demographic, online radio could be a valuable channel.
  • Online radio is invading the car. In 2016, 36% of US consumers listened to an online radio station while driving in their car, and this increased to 40% in the first few months of 2017. While traditional AM/FM terrestrial radio still accounts for the majority of in-car listening, streaming services will likely take share in the years ahead as consumers increasingly use mobile devices tethered to their car radio.
  • Pandora is the leader in terms of monthly usage, but new entrants are quickly gaining traction. Thirty-two percent of US consumers over the age of 12 said they'd used Pandora in the past month in early 2017, flat versus 2016. Meanwhile, competitors Spotify and iHeartRadio are seeing more consumers turn to their services.
  • Spotify is the leader when it comes to subscribers. Spotify has 50 million paid users, more than double its nearest competitor, Apple Music, which had 20 million subscribers as of December 2016. Meanwhile, Pandora has just over 4 million subscribers and Tidal comes in around 3 million, a figure open for debate. SoundCloud and iHeartRadio both have paid tiers less than a year old, and have not yet disclosed subscriber counts.

As streaming services become increasingly ubiquitous for many forms of media in the US, streaming providers have an opportunity to convert users to paid subscribers, and marketers have a highly targeted channel for advertising.

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