Infinite Dial: Podcast and Streaming Audio Trends Surge in 2024


The latest insights from Edison Research’s 2024 Infinite Dial report, presented by Megan Lazovick at Podcast Movement Evolutions, illustrate a significant shift in American audio consumption habits, highlighting an uptick in podcast listening and streaming audio.

The national survey conducted in January 2024 sampled 1,086 individuals aged 12 and older, utilizing both phone and online probability panels. The data was weighted to match the national 12+ US population figures. Findings showed streaming audio has now entrenched itself as a mainstream channel, with over two-thirds of Americans aged 12 and older tuning into online streams weekly, including traditional radio.

So where are audiences listening? 93% of Americans own at least one smart device, be it a smartphone, smart TV, or smart speaker, totaling an estimated 267 million individuals. While smartphone ownership slightly declined by 1% to 90%, smart TV ownership experienced a 2% year-over-year increase, reaching 72 million. This is good news for the radio broadcasters who have been expanding their connected TV presence.

Smart speakers saw a 2% decline to 34%, as Lazovick reported, “Excitement is dwindling,” for the platform. However, 21% of the US population still engaged with audio content via smart speakers monthly, with a majority of owners possessing more than one.

In terms of in-car audio preferences, AM/FM radio remains dominant at 70%, followed by online audio at 55%, podcasts at 32%, CDs at 25%, and SiriusXM at 22%.

Streaming audio continues to hit record highs, with 76% of Americans listening to online audio monthly, a slight 1% increase year-over-year. Interestingly, the 12-34 age group leads the charge at 90%, followed by the 35-54 age group at 85%, while the 55+ demographic experienced a slight decrease to 52%.

In the streaming service landscape, SiriusXM’s Pandora leads in brand recognition, closely followed by Spotify and Apple Music, with iHeartRadio ranking fourth. NPR One, Audacy, and TuneIn finished in the bottom three, indicating a need for the industry to more heavily market terrestrial radio’s streaming platforms.

iHeartRadio ranked among the most used streaming brands, but did not have a measurable presence among listeners age 12-34, once again showing a need to better promote traditional radio brands.

Online Audio Brands Used Most Often Infinite Dial 2024
Edison Research

Despite a downturn in overall download counts due to changes with Apple, podcast engagement has escalated across every metric, indicating a robust appetite for this format.

Podcast demographics reveal that 67% of Americans have listened to a podcast at least once, marking a 3% increase from 2023. Monthly podcast listenership jumped significantly to 47% from 42% in the previous year, with women listeners growing by 15%, narrowing the gender gap in podcast consumption.

Social media usage stands at 82%, with Facebook leading in brand awareness and usage, followed by Instagram and TikTok. Notably, X/Twitter usage plummeted from 27% to 19% in the past year, marking its lowest level since 2019 and a loss of approximately 22 million users under the new ownership of Elon Musk.

These findings underscore the evolving landscape of media consumption, with digital platforms gaining momentum and altering how Americans engage with audio and social content.

More data can be found on Edison Research’s website.


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