The information is based on a phone survey of 2,002 representative respondents conducted in January.
Internet radio listening skews young, with 69% of respondents ages 12-24 listening on a weekly basis, compared to 50% of respondents ages 25-54, and just 18% of 54 and up.
Among those who listen to Internet radio, Pandora is far and away the most popular platform, cited by 54% as the service they listen to most, trailed by iHeartRadio at 11%, Spotify at 10%, and iTunes Radio at 8%.
However, podcasts are also growing in popularity, with the number of respondents who say they listen to podcasts as least once a month increasing from 39 million users last year to 46 million this year. The latter figure works out to 17% of Americans ages 12 and up.
Interestingly, YouTube is also a popular option for listening to music, as well as watching music videos, especially in the younger cohorts. 63% of all survey respondents have used YouTube for music, rising to nine out of 10 respondents ages 12-24.
The increase in Internet radio listening is due, in large part, to rising penetration by smartphones, with 71% of Americans over the age of 12 now owning a smartphone, up from 61% in the 2014 survey. Among online radio listeners, the proportion who tune in on their smartphone increased from 66% in 2014 to 73% in 2015, while desktop listeners declined from 64% to 61% over the same period.
In 2015, 35% of smartphone owners had streamed audio to their car stereo, up from 26% in 2014.
Internet radio appears to be edging out broadcast radio as the favored medium for discovering new music: between 2010 and 2015, the proportion of respondents who said they favor the Internet increased from 31% to 44%, while the proportion who said they favor radio decreased from 39% to 32%.
Triton Digital president for market development stated: “Perhaps the most significant finding from this year’s report is the change in frequency of use for streaming audio. For years, Americans have been occasional listeners but for the first time it’s apparent that streaming audio has become an ingrained part of our lives as the number of Americans listening weekly is now 44%.”