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Teens Blast Music Through Streaming Services

Teens spend more time with streaming audio each day than radio

February 5, 2015

Results from a fall 2014 study by Edison Research suggest teens are a prime audience for the audio streaming industry. The research found that US teen consumers studied spent more time with streaming audio each day than AM/FM radio.

Daily Time Spent Listening to Streaming Audio* vs. AM/FM Radio** Among US Teen Consumers, Fall 2014 (mins)

Streaming platforms such as Pandora and Spotify grabbed 64 minutes of teens’ daily time, vs. 53 minutes with broadcast radio and online streams of AM/FM stations. A spokesperson for Edison noted that AM/FM led by a “significant margin” among all other age groups, indicating a future shift in music consumption as younger consumers choose their listening method.

According to Edison, teens spent an average 4 hours, 2 minutes listening to music each day, so their music listening isn’t restricted to those two means. Indeed, research from Piper Jaffray found that MP3s—for example, songs from iTunes and other downloaded music, played on devices such as iPods—grabbed the largest share of time spent listening to music among US teens, at 42%.

However, streaming services came in second, as Pandora combined with “other” streaming radio services such as Spotify and Songza to account for 31%. In comparison, local radio grabbed just 16% and CDs only 6%.

Primary Way in Which US Internet Users Access Music Not Available for Streaming*, by Age, Sep 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

Teens are more loyal to streaming services than consumers of other ages, based on September 2014 polling by Nielsen Audio. When asked about the primary way in which they accessed music not available for streaming, US teen internet users said they found something else to listen to and waited for the original music to be available for streaming, compared with an average of 51% among all respondents.

When they did go beyond streaming services like Spotify or Pandora, teens weren’t interested in paying—despite Piper Jaffray’s finding that MP3s, often paid for, grabbed the biggest portion of time spent with music. Just 16% said they would buy a few songs or an entire album if they weren’t streamable, compared with an average of 22% overall.

Pandora is the most popular platform for music listening among US internet users. eMarketer estimates that the company’s global digital ad revenues will reach $973.1 million in 2015, up 32.0% year over year. Next year, 28.0% growth will push Pandora’s net ad revenues worldwide past $1.24 billion.

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