Just released: State of Audio - The Disruptors

5 Trending Listener Shifts for 2022

By Audacy Insights Team

No need to guess what listeners care about most. They vote with their ears.

Drawn to innovative content, personal connections, and ads that feel more authentic, listeners are showing us what they love through their consumption habits. Even subtle changes in their listening can fuel exciting evolutions in Audio for brands and creators. So how are listeners switching things up as they turn to their buds, pods, and speakers?

1. Never Enough

Listeners know what they want and what they want is more Audio, right now. Their cravings for their favorite content can’t be satisfied by a single source. That’s why the listener numbers just keep going up—for broadcast stations, streaming online, and for online-only content.

176 Million
Weekly listening
jumped by 7 million to 176 million
shattering 2020’s all-time high
+1 Hour
Average weekly listening
time rose a full hour, from
15 hours to 16 hours and 14 minutes

We’re not the only ones noticing the increased love for all things Audio. Advertisers are responding with amped up investment. Audio streaming ad revenue skyrocketed by 59% last year, outpacing increases in video and search.

2. Me-Time Dayparts

Forget time-honored dayparts: When it comes to Audio, “drive time” has given way to “me-time.” Your own Audio prime time truly can be anywhere and anytime, behind the wheel, packing lunches, pumping it up at the gym—you name the place and time, and Audio is there for you.

3. Personalized Ads

Here’s the secret: ads don’t feel like an interruption when they’re something you’re interested in. Most of us welcome ads for something we need or want to buy. Brands that take time to target each audience with the right creative will carve out a space where listeners feel like they’re getting brand messages curated just for them.

4. Brushes with Fame

When it comes to our favorite personalities and influencers, we want to feel like we’re in the room where it happens. More connections. The latest gossip. We want to get closer to our heroes, and Audio makes it all possible. Devoted fans happily follow their favorite TV stars to podcasts, and their favorite TikTokers to Radio, to hear the untold stories, deeper conversations, and unfiltered behind-the-scenes gossip.

It’s about authentic connections. Our podcasts … are continuations of the story and connections with the talent behind the shows. They are very authentic, and that’s very intentional for us. We believe in [Audio] as a way to really expand the ways in which we can reach the consumer and serve them better.

Josh Walker
Chief Strategy Officer, HBO Max

5. Stories Rule

We love our hits, but it’s not just about the music. Stories connect us. Our 2022 listeners love spoken-word content more than ever—local sports icons talking us through a heartbreaking playoff run, up-to-the-minute celebrity gossip from the voices we love, and podcast drops we literally schedule into our week. And the audiosphere is coming up with new ways to deliver. From scripted podcast originals to Audio movies with Hollywood production value, we’re in a golden age of storytelling.

22M
22 million more people are listening to spoken-word Audio daily than just seven years ago
+40%
Spoken word’s share of Audio listening has risen +40% over the last seven years, 8% in the last year alone
75%
75% of the US population listens to spoken-word content; 45% listen daily
2 Hours
Fans of spoken-word Audio listen 2 hours per day on average–that’s nearly half of their total listening time

Want more of the latest Audio insights? Check out the STATE OF AUDIO guide for trends from the listeners, advertisers, and creators revolutionizing Audio.

Want to talk more about reaching your target audience?

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SOURCES

Edison Research and Triton Audio, The Infinite Dial 2021

IAB / PwC Ad Revenue Report, FY 2021

NPR and Edison Research, “The Spoken Word Audio Report, 2021; excludes Youtube for music”

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