IFPI 2019 report: Young listeners lead in use of streaming and music via smartphone

The IFPI has released its Music Listening 2019 report, a snapshot of the current global audio habits and trends. The organization found that time spent listening to music in a week rose from an average of 17.8 hours in 2018 to 18 hours in 2019. That breaks down to a daily average of more than 2.6 hours of listening.

On-demand streaming has achieved international popularity, with 89% of respondents listening on those platforms. About two-thirds (64%) are monthly listeners. The report found that people spend 4 hours listening to audio streaming each week, and 3.5 hours listening to music through video streaming each week.

When asked about their top reasons for streaming music, the leading responses were “instant access to millions of songs” and “listen to what I want, when I want,” which received 62% and 61% shares, respectively.

The report noted an age shift in on-demand streaming, with the 35-64 demographic posting the largest growth in monthly use. The age bracket saw an 8% increase, with 54% of respondents using a music streaming service in the past month.

Although ages 35-64 topped growth, ages 16-24 still lead in other key behaviors. The 16-24 bracket posted a 52% rate of using paid streaming in the last month. Also, 63% said they had used an audio streaming platform in the past day.

Radio remains the leading hardware for consuming audio, topping the global device share of music listening time with 29%. Smartphones trailed close behind with a 27% share. Smart speakers remain a niche option with just 3%.

Smartphones were immensely popular with the younger respondents, securing 44% of music listening time for ages 16-24. More than two-thirds (68%) of that bracket said they would pick smartphones if they could only listen to music on a single device.

The hardware is also making inroads on radio listening. Smartphones were the most commonly used device for listening to music on the radio with 51%, besting standalone radios at 45% and far outpacing the 10% share for smart speakers and voice-activated speakers.

The Netherlands was the top country for listening to music on broadcast radio with 10.5 hours. Poland came second with 9 hours, followed by Germany at 8.3 hours. The global weekly average time spent listening to radio was 5.4 hours.

The IFPI often uses its annual reports to draw attention to key hurdles for the music industry. In the 2019 edition, it found that piracy is still a concern, with 23% of respondents using stream ripping services and 27% obtaining music through any form of copyright infringement. These rates rose within the 16-24 age group, which reported 34% engaging in stream ripping and 38% infringing on music copyrights in the past month.

Anna Washenko