Infinite Dial 2021: Australians embrace digital audio, podcast listening soars

Infinite Dial

About 5.6 million Australians, or 26% of the population, are podcast listeners

The annual Infinite Dial Australia 2021 study, released by Edison Research and Commercial Radio Australia, indicates more Australians are embracing digital audio post the pandemic. Podcast listening has continued to grow over the past year and more people are listening to radio using apps, catch-up podcasts and smart speakers.

Overall, 86% of Australians aged 12+ listened to radio over-the-air, online and via catch-up radio podcasts in the last month and 37% have listened to a podcast in the last month. The average weekly listening time has remained steady at just over 12 hours.

About 5.6 million Australians, or 26% of the population, are weekly podcast listeners, a 53% increase over the 2020 study that was conducted prior to the pandemic lockdown.

Smart speaker ownership also increased sharply. Twenty-six percent of the population owns a smart speaker, a 53% increase compared to 17% a year ago.

“Australians have continued to embrace radio through this period of unprecedented disruption and are listening both live and online through multiple sources, including apps, catch-up podcasts and smart speakers,” said Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner.

“Radio has been extremely resilient in reaching mass audiences, while the uptake of podcasts has accelerated rapidly, positioning the industry well for continued growth and innovation in this area.”

The number of Australians 12+ who listen to online audio weekly including radio, internet-only services and podcasts, increased to 66% of the population from 63% a year ago. The average time spent listening to online audio was over 12 hours per week.

In-car listening was dominated by radio with 84% listening to AM/FM/DAB+. People also listening to their own music collection was 41%, and remarkably CDs are still popular with 39% using their CD player, while 30% of people also listened to podcasts in vehicles.

People who listen to AM/FM/DAB+ radio online use multiple sources: 46% listen through the radio station’s website, 44% listen through a radio station’s app, 38% listen through an aggregator app or website, and 23% listen through a smart speaker. This was the first time Infinite Dial reported on radio listening through smart speakers.

Google Nest is the most popular brand, owned by 24% of the population, while 3% own an Amazon Alexa-enabled speaker. The average household has 1.9 smart speakers. Edison Research revealed it is currently working on a new industry report, Smart Audio Report Australia.

Spotify is the most popular streaming service with 42% using each week. Edison Research found that 65% of those people paid for the premium service with the remaining happy with the free offering. YouTube Music was the next most used at 16% followed by Apple Music on 8%.

Edison Research President Larry Rosin said: “We are so excited to present this new information to those in the audio space in Australia and we hope they can use it to move their businesses forward in 2021 and beyond. One of the key takeaways is the growth in podcast consumption in the last year.”

The fifth annual Infinite Dial Australia survey was conducted by Edison Research using a nationally representative sample of 1,001 Australians.  The research was commissioned by CRA, Southern Cross Austereo/LiSTNR and Triton Digital. The report is available at

See also: Infinite Dial 2020: Australian radio remains strong, podcasts growing steadily

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