Spoken word share is up, especially podcasts (Westwood One and Edison Research)

Pierre Bouvard of the Westwood One Blog has revealed portions of the Share Of Ear research study performed by Edison Research. Among many results, we learn that spoken word audio is generally up — due initially to the pandemic and accelerating since then — and ad-supported streaming music via Spotify and Pandora is down. Both those data points represent a fairly long-term tracking window of seven years since 1016.

Spoken word audio listening has reached an eight-year high, we learn from Share of Ear, and the graph below is how Westwood One diagrams it:

The growth in spoken word listening is at least partially due to the rise in podcasting over this span. That presumption is supported by Edison’s spectacular revelation that podcasting has increased its share of listening by an eye-popping 575%from 2016, as shown below.


As often is the case in Westwood One’s presentation of research metrics, AM/FM radio is compared to streaming music and podcasting as marketing venues for advertisers. In this case, two key takeaways address that comparison:

  • Pandora/Spotify ad-supported music streaming shares are down -31% over the same period
  • AM/FM radio streaming’s audience share is now greater than Pandora/Spotify combined

And they lead to this conclusion from Pierre Bouvard:

  • At a 69% share overall and a massive 85% in-car share, AM/FM radio remains the dominant ad-supported audio platform

There are several more key takeaways, graphics, and high notes in this detailed summary of Edison’s Share of Ear. See it all HERE. Or, watch the video HERE. Or, download the PDF HERE.

Brad Hill