What is Digital Audio?

Digital audio is the next must-buy media channel. Keep scrolling to understand what it is and why it’s an up and coming superstar.

Listening is everything

Epic poems. Chants. Rhymes. Songs. The earliest heartbeats of human culture depended on people listening to each other and connecting to the world through sound.

And still today, sound has never been more relevant. People are overwhelmed by the influx of information and fatigued by screens. The beauty of listening is that it complements and enhances our experiences, unlike video or screen-based activities, helping you stay present and connected to the world around you.

Audio ≠ Radio

Audio doesn’t just mean “radio” anymore. Today’s listeners are increasingly tech savvy, have better devices, and are more connected than ever before. For example, smart speaker ownership grew more than 22% between 2020 and 2021— and the number of speakers per home grew as well. This means people are listening in a multitude of ways.

Listening to the radio is not a personalized experience. Radio has historically been centered around in-car listening. A listener would select a station, but from there all of the content is selected for them.

Digital audio, on the other hand, covers countless moments in and beyond the car. It can be curated and personalized through playlists, and it stays with listeners as they stream throughout the day: whether they’re cooking, commuting, working out, studying, or winding down. Even gamers are replacing gaming soundtracks with their own music choices to personalize their experience. Where there’s a listening device, there’s a way.

Digital Audio – Defined

So what actually is digital audio? It’s any kind of audio listened to through an internet connection. Types of digital audio include streaming music, live talk, radio shows, sportscasts, podcasts, and more.

3 in 5 people in the US spend more than 16 hours per week listening to digital audio.

Edison Research/Triton Digital Dial Study 2021, P12+

Thanks to the mass adoption of technologies like smart speakers, smartphones, and wireless headphones, it’s never been easier to access the information and content we love whenever and wherever we want. Digital audio’s ubiquity and growing accessibility is what makes it so promising. In fact, digital audio hit an all time high in 2021 with an average of 16 hours of weekly listening among the US population. Listening is not only everything — it’s now everywhere.

Smart speaker ownership grew more than 22% between 2020 and 2021.

Edison. The Infinite Dial, 2021

Remember, audio doesn’t just mean “radio” anymore. Today’s listeners are increasingly tech-savvy, have better devices, and are more connected than ever before. In addition to smart speaker ownership increasing —  the number of speakers per home grew as well. This means people are listening in a multitude of ways.

Time spent with digital audio is 30% higher than that of broadcast radio.

GlobalWebIndex, Q1-Q2 2019 & Q1-Q2 2020, US, August 2020

More and more listeners are turning to digital audio over radio because of the ubiquity across devices, and personalization that digital audio offers. 

When do most people tune in to the radio? You got it: when they’re in the car. Digital audio, however, is present across countless moments in and beyond the morning and evening commute. Listeners are choosing to tune in throughout the day.

Types of Digital Audio

Downloaded Audio

Downloaded audio includes audio files like songs, albums, and podcasts. The audio file is downloaded in its entirety to a listener’s device and can be played whenever it’s convenient.

Live-streaming Audio

Live-streaming audio comes from a wide range of sources, which vary in content and audience quality. Examples include online audio streams of live broadcasts from radio stations, as well as directly from a range of professional DJs and amateur hosts.

On-demand Audio

On-demand audio is a broad category that includes music, podcasts, talk shows, radio, audio clips, and voiceovers. Instead of downloading the entire file, it’s streamed to your device bit by bit, over the internet. As the name implies, on-demand audio is ready when you are.

© In Collaboration with Spotify and Intellum

Jaidip Subedi

2 responses

  1. […] that you know what digital audio is, find out how advertising within digital audio […]

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