Five Digital Audio Trends That We Learned from the 2019 Infinite Dial

Ron Rodrigues, Sr. Audio Strategist

Digital audio hit new and important milestones in this year, certifying its role as an everyday, mainstream medium in the U.S. The findings come from the 2019 Infinite Dial from Edison Research and Triton Digital. Edison Research has been studying the online audio space for the past 21 years.

Amidst the treasure trove of insights in the study, we saw five key takeaways that tell the tale of a medium on a tear:

1. A Record Number of People Are Frequent Streamers

This year’s Infinite Dial found that 169 million people—or 60% of the 12+ population—are streaming weekly. That’s a 9-million-person increase from last year. These numbers show clearly that Americans of all ages are leveraging their growing array of digital devices to choose personalized audio.

2. And They’re Spending More Time at It

Weekly time spent with online audio surged to a record-setting 16 hours, 43 minutes in 2019, a three-hour jump over the previous year, the largest year-over-year increase ever. Edison Research credits this huge growth spurt, in part, to podcast and smart speaker popularity.

3. Pandora Reigns Supreme Among the Online Brands

With 89% awareness, Pandora’s brand recognition is at least 14 points higher than any other digital audio brand. This near-universal awareness helps to make Pandora the most-used service in both the monthly and weekly categories. 3984 infiniteDial r3 brandsChart

4. 20 Million New Podcast Listeners This Year

More than 197 million Americans are now aware of podcasting. Why? It’s hard to come across an entertainer, magazine article or social media thread that doesn’t mention a podcast of one sort or another. The percentage of the U.S. population that has listened to a podcast crossed the majority line for the first time, and frequent podcast listeners are consuming an average of seven podcasts weekly.

5. Smart Speaker Homes are Becoming Multi Smart Speaker Homes

You’ve probably read the explosive smart speaker growth stats, and the Infinite Dial study confirms it: 65 million Americans now own a smart speaker. More remarkably, a majority of these owners have two or more devices, and half of this group have three or more devices. This multiple-device adoption curve reflects a deep affinity that owners have for their smart speakers.

What did we learn from the 2019 Infinite Dial?

An estimated 169 million people count themselves as weekly online audio listeners, offering plenty of scale for marketers.

A booming new crop of podcast listeners has catapulted this medium into the mainstream majority.

Online audio’s meteoric growth in time spent is testament to the booming selection of content and devices, and the best indicator of rising engagement.

Smart speaker affinity is growing simply because our voices are the most fluid way to interact with technology.

With more monthly and weekly listeners than any other digital audio brand, Pandora is the surest choice for connecting with today’s digital audio consumer.

All in all, I think it's safe to say that the digital audio boom is only just beginning. As audio becomes more and more of a staple in everyday life, it's important to recognize that #YourAudienceIsListening. Learn more about our audience solutions and how you can reach your target audience here.