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Music streaming players Spotify and Pandora look to turn media buying conversations from radio to audio with new audience data

Music streaming players have released new data to show the size of the sector in Australia as they attempt to move the conversation with media agencies from radio to the commercial potential of audio.

New data from comScore measured across Australian users’ desktops and mobiles, shows global giant Spotify as the biggest service locally with 2.985m “unique monthly visitors” for December.

Source: Commscore

Source: comScore

German audio distribution platform Soundcloud is second with 2.059m and internet radio service Pandora third with at 976,000, while internet radio app Tunein and iHeartRadio are at 484,000 and 468,000, respectively.

However services including Apple Music, Google Play and Guvera are not included as they either do not include tags on their content or did not reach the “minimum reporting standards”.

Huxley

Huxley: ‘excited about growth trajectories’.

“Streaming is now at scale and when it’s at that level it is good to put some numbers out there that makes sense to our clients and agencies,” said Andrea Ingham, national sales director of Spotify. “They can have a look at what (audio) streaming is doing now globally and also now from an Australian perspective.”

Pandora’s Australian managing director, Jane Huxley, told Mumbrella what excited her about the numbers was growth trajectories and the size of the potential local audience.

“It’s hard to imagine that only two years ago these figures would have been less than a quarter of the listeners who now tune in regularly to streaming music,” Huxley said.

“What is more exciting is the number of people who have yet to discover how accessible, serendipitous and seamless music streaming services like Pandora are. And even more so the millions of hours spent listening to these services.”

The comScore numbers are well above the desktop numbers being published by the digital industry’s approved currency provider Nielsen, which, as of August last year, put Spotify at 1.051m, Pandora at 240,000 and found the sample was too small to record a number for iHeartRadio.

A year ago, industry body the Industry Advertising Bureau (IAB) said it would look to launch a Digital Audio Council to help push for audience measurement in the audio streaming space, although it has yet to publish any data.

Ingham: What we would like the language to shift from radio to audio.

Ingham: We would like the language to shift from ‘radio’ to ‘audio’.

Spotify’s Andrea Ingham argued the importance of the data is less about the overall numbers and more about the view on the state of the market. In the US comScore provides similar data for the sector.

“There has only been channel data previously and so we have used comScore globally by us and also by others to find a relativity between publishers,” said Ingham.

“This is still really new for everyone and that’s why we wanted to look at these numbers and give some perspective on what is happening in this space.”

Ingham, who has previously held senior roles at Nine and Southern Cross Austereo, said she was keen to shift the mentality of media agencies and their clients away from thinking about defined silos like digital and radio.

“When you look at our product and our competitors there is the question of are we digital? Are we audio? Where do we sit in the landscape?,” she said.

“It is time to look at the streaming market at scale and hopefully encourage agencies and marketers and to look at the numbers themselves. What we would like the language to shift from radio to audio.”

The local Spotify sales boss cited the example of the change in the conversation around television and online video.

“As they have done with TV and video and turning that into a screens conversation the question now is when does radio and streaming become a full audio conversation,” she said.

“It is in its infancy everywhere but we are having similar conversations among individual agencies. The issue for us is who drives that.”

Pandora’s Huxley said she was not concerned about the perception that Pandora trails its rival in terms of size.

“We know that our listeners listen on average nearly 2.5 hours a day – which is the real differentiator for Pandora,” said Huxley.

“It’s a clear sign that delivering on unparalleled personalisation and discovery builds a really loyal audience who are happy to recruit more listeners to streaming services. This, in turn, gives us the ability to deliver a highly engaged, logged-in audience to our advertisers.”

comScore’s methodology sees it reach a unique audience by running “the software development kit and panel data through the comScore proprietary audience algorithm”.

The measurement company tags the apps of the music streaming services and has a 60,000 people under measurement in Australia on its desktop web panel. It does not, however, have a mobile panel in Australia.

Nic Christensen

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