MusicWatch First Half 2022 Consumer Surveys Show Record Number of US Music Subscribers and Strong Growth in Music Listening Across Streaming and Social Platforms

US Music Listening Hours Up By 28% Compared With Year-Ago

MusicWatch released the results of its audiocensus survey of US internet users aged 13 and older. The study showed strong growth in engagement among US music and audio consumers during second quarter 2022.

  • MusicWatch estimated that there are an additional 10M more music streamers in the US compared with year-ago, and 20M more relative to early-pandemic Q2 2020. On a three month basis, 73 percent of US internet users 13 and older streamed music during Q2 2022.
  • The number of self-pay subscribers to a music service has risen to 86M (US), up nearly 20M from pre-pandemic levels. Growth is coming from 18–24 year-olds who have returned after cutting back on paid subs during COVID, and 35-44 year-olds. Adding consumers who subscribe to SiriusXM Satellite Radio would bring the total to 97M.


  • Music listening hours accelerated in Q2 ’22, rising 28% from year-ago. The 19 hours weekly spent with music tops the pre-pandemic levels. Growth was observed across a variety of formats including streaming and SXM, with the noticeable outlier being a drop in time spent listening (TSL) to music on broadcast AM/FM radio. Music streaming TSL was up 7 percent.
  • The audience for listening to music on social platforms, including video services such as TikTok, continues to expand, as does weekly TSL. On a past three-month basis 73 million listened to music on a social video platform such as TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. On average, users of social video apps who are listening to content with or about music are spending nearly 8 hours per week on those platforms.
  • The podcast audience grew by 15% compared with Q2 ’21, and podcasting hours rose to 6.3 among listeners, from 5.1 year-ago.

The Q2 results highlight the strong engagement of the music consumer, with many of the best year-over-year trends MusicWatch has seen in some time. Most encouraging is the continued growth in streamers who are paying for subscriptions, belying the concerns among some that economic stressors would impact that sector. Music continues to be a core element of social media platforms, both traditional and video-oriented formats. The audiocensus results suggest the social and streaming formats can be complimentary, as both are enjoying growth in users and time spent listening. Adding podcasts to the mix, the study illustrates how all formats can benefit from increased time spent with audio.

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