Crossing the streams: On-demand listening surpasses linear in epic Edison data

For nearly a decade, Edison Research has been tracking all forms of linear audio (radio over the air, radio streams, Pandora’s free radio service, satellite radio, etc.) and comparing it to all forms of on-demand audio content (paid streaming, podcasts, owned music, etc.). These trendlines are part of Edison’s ongoing Share of Ear research.

The two trends, indicating amount of time spent with linear and on-demand listening, have been working toward each other as on-demand listening has expanded its reach at the expense of AM/FM over-the-air listening:

On the far left (2015), linear listening held a 38% supremacy over on-demand. Today, on-demand edges above with 50.3% of time spent. “Drop by drop, quarter by quarter and year by year, the margin was erased,” Edison dramatically observes.

“The growth of podcast listening is part of the reason for this change,” Edison observes. Music listening has influenced the insistent trend as well: “Once people got used to the ability to choose a specific song or playlist, and of course skip songs – it became hard for many to go back to the ‘lean back’ experience of listening to radio or linear streams.”

Edison does not predict that linear listening will be subjugated to zero percent. “Even those who mostly prefer on-demand consume at least some linear content.  But it is about as safe a bet as one can make that the trendlines in the graph above will continue well out into the future.”

Brad Hill