Listening to streaming audio is experiencing its largest year-over-year increase since Edison Research and Arbitron started tracking Internet radio in 1998, and ample access to smartphones seems to be contributing to this trend.
Weekly usage of Internet radio — both the online streams of terrestrial broadcasters and streams from pureplay streamers such as Pandora — has increased from 22% of Americans 12+ in 2011 to 29% in 2012. That’s up from 12% in 2006 and 5% in 2001.
According to Nielsen, almost half of U.S. mobile owners now have smartphones, as of February 2012, and those in the 25 to 34-years-old demographic show the greatest proportion of smartphone ownership at 66%.
“The success of some of today’s popular on-demand and streaming Internet audio services is partially of their own doing, but also partially a trailing variable of the rise in smartphones and mobile media consumption,” Edison VP of strategy and marketing Tom Webster says.