Over Half of Americans Now Subscribe to an Audio Service, Study Finds

music streaming
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music streaming
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Over half of Americans are now subscribed to some sort of audio service, including on-demand music streaming as well as satellite radio, according to a new study. Photo Credit: Ben Blennerhassett

More than half of Americans pay for an audio service (including music streaming) of some kind, according to a newly released study.

This and other noteworthy information came to light in a just-published analysis that, not limited to streaming stats, touches upon several interesting points. For reference, Spotify reported an average of 236 million subscribers for 2023’s final quarter – with about 27 percent of these paid users, or 64 million individuals, based in North America.

Apple Music has long opted not to identify service-specific and regional user totals, but as is explored below, we aren’t without useful data in this department.

Returning to the aforementioned report, MusicWatch, citing findings from a core 4,000-person music study as well as a separate 3,000-person study, determined that “paid music subscribers” had hit a record 109 million in 2023.

The sum jumps to 136 million “if SiriusXM and Amazon Prime music listeners are included,” per the research company, indicating also that “over half the population are paying for an audio subscription.” (The statement reflects extrapolated results from the above-noted surveys and refers particularly to consumers age 13 and up.)

Normally, we’d have little concrete information to compare the numbers against. However, the NMPA in July of 2023 placed Spotify’s stateside subscribership (as of February of the same year) at 44.4 million, compared to 32.6 million for Apple Music, 29.3 million for Amazon Music, 8.5 million for YouTube Music (with users evidently preferring the Premium bundle), and 2.4 million for Pandora.

That comes out to 117.2 million – relatively close to the figure provided by the study. However, the NMPA data excludes platforms including Tidal and Qobuz.

In any event, the newer of the resources also found that U.S. recorded music spending had spiked by seven percent year over year during 2023, when a substantial 80 percent of music streamers are said to have “regularly” listened “to audio categories besides music.”

Lastly, in terms of significant takeaways, approximately 90 percent of “vinyl buyers plan to buy more or the same number of records in 2024,” according to the study.

Meanwhile, on the HD-audio front, one-third of streamer respondents “strongly agreed” that accessing “the best quality sound is important,” said they’d “be interested in streaming or buying more in hi-res or immersive formats,” and spelled out that they’d “be willing to pay more for hi-res sound quality,” per the analysis.