Nov 18, 2021 - Technology

Audiobooks, podcasts gain share of listening time

Spoken word audio listening, by type
Data: 2021 Spoken Word Audio report from NPR and Edison Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data finds the share of audio consumed by people ages 13+ in the U.S. that includes the spoken word — podcasts, audiobooks, live talk shows, etc. — has increased by 40% since 2014, while the share of music vs other mediums has decreased by 8 percentage points in that time.

Why it matters: Streaming has made it much easier for consumers to convert hobbies from the analog world, like listening to the radio or reading a book, to the digital world.

  • Data from NPR & Edison Research's latest annual "spoken word" report shows that much of the growth of spoken word audio is coming from outsized consumption among younger adults (13-34 year-olds) and multicultural audiences.

Driving the news: Spotify on Thursday announced it is acquiring Findaway, an audiobook distribution company.

  • The deal will scale Spotify’s audiobook catalog and bring new features to Spotify that will enhance listeners‘ engagement with books, says Nir Zicherman, head of audiobooks at Spotify.

Spotify started out as a music platform, but has quickly become a leading distributor and incubator of podcasts through a series of acquisitions and significant financial investment.

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