RAJAR MIDAS Report – Spring 2024

RAJAR MIDAS Report – Spring 2024

RAJAR has just released a summary of its latest MIDAS report for Spring 2024. The fieldwork was carried out in April 2024 amongst 2,143 former RAJAR respondents aged 15+ who were asked to complete a 7-day audio diary.

The report compares all forms of listening: live radio, catch-up radio, podcasts, on-demand music service (e.g. Spotify), digital music (e.g. mp3s), vinyl, CDs and audiobooks.

From this they can create a share of listening to audio chart. In this case, excluding “visual” – so no YouTube videos or music TV channels. I’d note that in the latter case, Bauer is about to switch off all of its music TV channels, so there’ll be far fewer of these in the UK anyway.

The summary report is over on RAJAR’s website, but I’ve re-charted some of the findings here, and snipped others from their PDF.

Let’s start with an overall picture of audio listening shares. Note that Edison Research has it’s own “Share of Ear” research, but that phrase is Trademarked by them! (Also, they tend to include visual forms of audio which are excluded here, so be careful of making direct comparisons. In any case, the sampling is very different between what RAJAR and Edison Research do).

The overall picture here is that Live Radio is by far the most consumed form of audio across All Adults. 70% of listening is Live Radio, more than 4.5x the next nearest form of audio which is On Demand Music at 15%. After that come podcasts at 6%, before we get into various forms of owned music.

Note too that despite an ongoing “vinyl revival” it doesn’t actually make it to whole percentage point in this data. Although note that numbers have been rounded to the nearest whole percentage point.

Looking at 15-24s, it’s certainly true that the picture is markedly different with that group spending 46% of their audio time with On Demand Music, ahead of radio with just 36%. Time spent with podcasts is higher within this group too at 13% – the best age group in this study for podcasts.

Then, as you get older, the On Demand Audio number declines, and the Live Radio number grows. It’s an age thing.

If we look at reach for each of these forms of audio then a more consistent picture can be seen.

Even amongst 15-24s, there’s a sizeable “reach” figure. The only massive disaprity is to be found in On Demand Music where your age certainly determines whether you ever use such a service. Similarly, if you’re young, you are less likely to own music than if you are old.

RAJAR has been running its MIDAS survey for quite a few years at this point, and the chart above shows Weekly Reach data over time. (Note that there was not a survey in Spring 2021). As RAJAR notes in its summary slides, this chart shows a significant decline in owned music. Vinyl records perhaps bought, but not listened to, have not made up for the collapse in CD sales over this period. And even those of us who buy digital music from sites like Bandcamp are not a meaningful number in the overall scheme of things.

On Demand Music marches on during this period, with podcasting also growing.

I wouldn’t place too much on podcasting slipping a little this quarter. Other measures, including RAJAR’s own main survey, show that the overall upwards trend is more reflective of what’s happening.

RAJAR MIDAS gets into On Demand Music streaming services a little more calculating an average 11 hours per listener a week. In their survey, 60% of respondents said that they listen to a premium service with no ads. 55% of listening is via a phone, and 25% via a smart speaker, with other devices having a lower share.

The report highlights something that other surveys also mention: podcast listening is a solo activity. The 21% of UK adults who listen to podcasts spend an average 7 hours a week listening to them, with 94% of those hours spent listening alone.

The report also details where people listen, and what they’re doing when they’re listening.

Podcast discovery is also measured with Word of Mouth being the commonest way to learn about new podcasts:

The report also measures the most listened to genres as claimed by respondents:

It’s interesting that the top 3 podcasts in Edison Research’s recent Top 25 list are Joe Rogan, Diary of a CEO and Sh**ged Married Annoyed. I’d argue that only the latter really counts as comedy, although Joe Rogan is apparently also “comedy”. Your mileage may vary. Diary of a CEO is counted by Apple as either Business or Society & Culture. I do think that Comedy, News and Sport are much easier to pigeonhole when you’re asking someone what they listen to. Society & Culture can be a bit more nebulous.

One final chart I shall borrow from MIDAS is the listening through the day chart.

This shows when people listen to each type of audio. The radio line at the top is largely unchanged over the last 25 years, but the On Demand Music daytime bump is interesting and suggests a lot of at work/study listening during this period. Podcasts get a bump at breakfast and then settle in across the day, with a slight late evening bump too. Catch-up radio trumps everything at around 11.30pm at night!

There’s more data in the full summary that I’ve not included here, so head over to RAJAR to read it.

Remember, you can’t directly compare this data with other sources of data including the regular RAJAR summaries, Ofcom’s data or Edison Research’s data. They each use slightly different methodologies, so should be considered separately. But each source does help illuminate the audio space just a little more.

All Data Source: RAJAR/MIDAS Spring 2024. MIDAS Spring 2024 fieldwork was carried out over two weeks in April 2024 with a final sample of 2,143 former RAJAR respondents’ adults aged 15 plus, completing a 7-day online diary.

Image at the top created in Adobe Photoshop with Adobe Sensei AI using the prompt: “A photo realistic set of headphones plugged into a smartphone lying on a wooden table.” I would note that AI seems to struggle as much with headphones and their associated wires as it does with fingers. It took me 20 attempts to get that image, and even then, it’s not very good. Many images had more than two headphone cups, or wires going to nowhere at all. Sometimes the phone had a wire, but the headphones didn’t. And suggesting a wireless pair of headphones paired with a phone was even less successful. I would have been quicker, taking a quick snap of my own headphones and phone!



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