Data shared with the industry on Wednesday from Edison Research’s Share of Ear shows that 47% of all Americans age 13 and older now subscribe to at least one paid audio service. This number is just over double what it was in 2015, when 23% had a paid subscription.
Growth has come across the board, according to Edison’s data, from music streaming services such as Spotify Premium, Apple Music, Pandora Premium or Plus, to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and to audiobook subscriptions from Audible.
“While much of this doubling of the numbers is the redirection of money that was going to physical music formats to music streaming subscriptions, there is also the trend of more people paying to avoid commercials,” said Edison Research president Larry Rosin. “I have to believe that we will see more subscription efforts in the future, particularly from radio companies.”
“Bauer Media in the U.K. recently launched a subscription radio service that offers commercial-free versions of their radio brands and other content. I would think such efforts are likely to be launched in the U.S. as well,” Rosin said.
While predicting the future is always a fraught proposition, it seems only a matter of time before this number passes 50% of all Americans age 13 and older. Edison Research will report if and when this happens.