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Threshold crossed: Over 50% of American teen/adult listening was on digital devices

“It was almost inevitable,” says Ediron Research Director of Research Laura Ivey. “We will have to wait to see if the numbers revert more closely to what they were before the disruptions.”

Ivey is talking about the shares of listening on digital devices and traditional linear devices. In Q2, according to the ongoing Share of Ear study conducted by Edison, digital devices claimed 53% of listening among Americans 13 years old and up.

The “digital/on-demand” devices in the Share of Ear study include smartphones, computers, internet-connected televisions and smart speakers. These are essentially the devices that Americans use to stream or listen to audio files on demand. The “traditional or non-linear devices” include AM/FM receivers, SiriusXM receivers, CD players, turntables, or TV channels like Music Choice.

The crossed benchmark corresponded to COVID-19, of course, before which the split was 55% traditional/linear, and 45% digital devices. One question now is whether the previous balance will be reestablished in a post-COVID world (whenever that is deemed to be), or whether new digital-listening habits are here to stay for the majority.

This research was conducted in mid-May. Share of Ear is a subscription product; Edison Research occasionally releases glimpses (as do subscribers sometimes).

Brad Hill

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