More than one in five Americans will listen to music on their mobile phones this year, eMarketer estimates, after usage nearly doubled in 2012. Listening to music on their phones is now a regular activity for more than 70 million people in the US, and double-digit growth is expected to continue through 2015, when well over a third of all mobile phone users will participate.
Included in this figure are mobile phone users who listen to streaming music, such as via Pandora, Spotify or another digital radio station, as well as those who download music directly onto their phone, via the iTunes Store or a similar service. eMarketer’s forecast does not include listeners who only sideload music from their PC to their phone.
The inclusion of downloads to mobile means the figures are not directly comparable to eMarketer’s estimate of digital radio listeners, which includes listeners to digital broadcasts of terrestrial radio stations, digital-only stations or podcasts. eMarketer estimates that 147 million internet users will listen to such content at least monthly this year, or roughly six in 10 internet users. Next year, participation will approach half of the overall population.
A rough comparison indicates that this year, nearly half of all digital radio listeners will likely listen to streaming music on their mobile phones—a practice helped along by the rise of smartphones. Smartphone music listeners will account for 99.2% of all mobile phone music listeners this year. Music listening penetration is also higher among smartphone users (49.8%) than among mobile phone users (28.5%).
eMarketer bases its estimates of digital music listening on the analysis of survey and traffic data from research firms and regulatory agencies, historical trends, company-specific data, and demographic and socioeconomic factors.