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Audio is The New Frontier – How Will You Take Advantage of This Opportunity?

Amplifi Media recently drew attention to some vital stats connected to audio listening habits.

This one, in particular should pique your interest:

Today, 19% of audio listening is coming from the smartphone, and as adoption for the tech-integrated vehicle increases, these numbers will continue to rise.

What sources are dominating people’s listening habits on their smartphones?

Here’s the “Share of Ear” breakdown:

  • 43% owned music.
  • 37% streaming audio.
  • 9% AM/FM radio.
  • 7% podcasts.
  • 4% other.

These studies also show that 68% of people between the ages of 13 and 24 listened to audio on their smartphone in a day.

What this means, in simple terms, is that there is a growing opportunity for audio content on mobile devices.

19% of audio listening is coming from the smartphoneClick To Tweet

Where Is The Opportunity?

The obvious opportunities and growth areas are streaming audio and podcasts. I’ll be talking more about each in a moment.

But first, I must reinforce the necessity of being on every online music store you can possibly be on. If you’ve been holding out, now’s the time to get your music distributed.

Not all stores have mobile apps. Some are harder to use and navigate than others. But if your music is everywhere people can find it, then you greatly increase your chances of earning more sales.

Look at the 43% stat from earlier. A lot of people are listening to music they own (though technically they don’t “own” it).

The other advantage of distributing your music far and wide is that you can gain international fans. Fans outside of North America don’t necessarily have access to the stores and apps we do, so good distribution ensures that you can get your music into the hands of the people that want it.

Streaming Audio

Streaming audio already dominates 37% of America’s listening time on a smartphone. I think it’s fair to say this number is only going to increase.

We’ve already talked about how a large number of plays can lead to a significant amount of money from streaming. This is not a guarantee, but the potential is there, especially if you can get featured on a popular playlist.

I believe there are a lot of great opportunities to come in streaming, even if they haven’t exactly been profitable to musicians in the past.

Plus, you can’t really expect people to buy or even like your music without first hearing it. So there’s a bit of a dilemma here – if you don’t let people stream your music, it may never be heard. But if you let people stream your music, you may not make a lot of money – at least not from streaming alone.

The question, right now, is really whether or not you want to be a part of that 37% (and quickly rising) listening time. I believe there are some obvious advantages to doing that, and I think there are more people interested in supporting musicians they like than you might be inclined to think.

With that in mind, it may be some time before the industry works out a better model.

Podcasts

I don’t know about you, but I’m an avid listener of podcasts. I listen to everything from marketing and spirituality podcasts to entrepreneurship and music business podcasts.

I like to stay up-to-date with the trends, discover new ideas, and learn from the myriad of experts that are sharing great content. I wouldn’t be writing about this topic today if I wasn’t in the habit of doing this.

I’ve said it before, and at the risk of sounding tired, I will say it again – podcasts are a largely underutilized platform for musicians.

Here are but a few examples of how you can gain exposure for your music with podcasts:

  • You can get your music featured on a show (or multiple shows). If you own your music, then you can grant others the permission to use it on their shows. Otherwise, you may need to go through the right channels to work out the details.
  • You can get interviewed on podcasts. Just like with radio, you can make an appearance on a relevant podcast. This is how a lot of authors are getting attention for their books, and there’s nothing saying musicians can’t do the same.
  • You can co-host a show. If you know of others that are already podcasting, you could approach them with the idea of co-hosting, which can raise your public profile – especially if they already have a following.
  • You can start your own podcast. This is definitely not the path of least resistance, as podcasting requires a lot of work, but if you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do and how to market your show, it’s yet another channel you can use to promote your music. Based on where listening habits are going, it’s something you might want to consider.

You can probably see that I’m pretty bullish about podcasts, frankly because there’s no way they are going to continue to occupy just 7% of people’s listening time. There’s just so much great content out there. This is definitely a growth market.

On the flip side, owned music and AM/FM listening may trail off, but only time will tell.

Final Thoughts

Are you well-positioned to take advantage of the coming opportunity? Will you be putting together a new strategy based on what you just learned?

I’ve been out of the podcasting game for a bit, but will be launching a new show very soon, and I don’t think the timing could get much better. I’m quite excited.

As for streaming, I fully intend to release my upcoming single on as many platforms as a I possibly can. I will be putting together a playlist and promoting it as well.

On the whole, audio listening on the smartphone is going to continue to increase. Now is the time to look for ways to boost your visibility in the right places. Think in terms of convenience – what’s easy for people to listen to on their smartphones? This is where the majority of people will be headed.

Author Bio:

David Andrew Wiebe is the founder of The Music Entrepreneur, and author of The New Music Industry. He is also active onstage and in the studio with bands like Adrenalize and Long Jon Lev. His new solo album is slated for release later this year.

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