Monday, October 12, 2015

Two-thirds of U.S. broadband households use a streaming audio service

Industry report analyzes trends in streaming audio service and device adoption and usage

New connected CE and digital media research from Parks Associates shows 66% of U.S. broadband households use a streaming audio service. Among all U.S. broadband households, 40% use a free service to stream audio, and 26% subscribe to a paid streaming audio service. Amazon Prime Music is the top subscription music service among U.S. broadband households (10%), followed by Pandora One (6%), and Spotify Premium (4%).

“Consumers have shown plenty of interest in streaming audio and music services, but most consumers have opted for free accounts. Music service providers have built a model around converting free users into paying customers, but this strategy has not paid off so far,” said Glenn Hower, Research Analyst, Parks Associates. “Streaming music providers will have to get creative with revenue streams if they hope to build sustainable businesses, whether through partnerships with broadband and mobile carriers or through premium service offerings streaming high-quality lossless audio.”

Increasing usage of audio services will boost interest and adoption in connected audio devices and products, according to Parks Associates analysts.

“Advances in wireless streaming technology and a resurgence of interest in hi-resolution audio will stimulate consumer demand for Internet-connected audio devices,” said Brad Russell, Research Analyst, Parks Associates. “Wireless speakers, multiroom audio systems, and soundbars constitute a growing home audio segment, which is offsetting declining sales in home theater and traditional audio components. Together, these three devices will generate $26 billion annually in global sales in 2020.”

New products that integrate a variety of Wi-Fi protocols as well as other bridge devices for legacy components are entering the market, such as the new Chromecast Audio streaming media device from Google. The new device enables users to broadcast music over Wi-Fi to speakers, televisions, and car stereos that have the device plugged into their standard 3.5 mm audio port, RCA port, or optical input. 

"The streaming audio segment is currently in an in-between stage where device makers have not quite caught up with incorporating new audio streaming technologies into their devices, beyond Bluetooth," Russell said. "For consumers wanting to stream lossless audio content to legacy speakers that do not support the new wireless technologies, Chromecast Audio meets this need."

Digital Audio for the Connected Consumer profiles the leading streaming music services, comparing features, pricing, and strengths and weaknesses of Internet radio services and paid streaming audio services. Report topics include:

  • Consumer adoption of streaming audio services
  • Growth trends and future outlook for key audio devices
  • Wireless streaming technologies including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and proprietary networks
  • Drivers and inhibitors for the streaming audio services market
  • Global five-year sales forecast for key streaming audio devices, accessories, and services, including headphones, wireless speakers, soundbars, and multiroom audio systems

Parks Associates is hosting multiple sessions at CEDIA EXPO 2015 this week, including “State of the Connected Home” and “Winning Strategies for Mid-Market Home Systems” on October 15 and “Next Generation TVs & Projectors: Better Pictures through Better Pixels” on October 16. These sessions will feature executives from Control4, CyberManor, Lutron, URC, Remote Technologies Inc., Sony, Dolby Laboratories, and Christie Digital Systems. Visit for more information.

For more information on the research or to purchase the report, visit To request specific data or speak with an analyst, contact Holly Sprague at, 720.987.6614.

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates, a woman-founded and certified business, is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, primary studies, consumer research, custom research, workshops, executive conferences, and annual service subscriptions.

The company's expertise includes the Internet of Things (IoT), digital media and platforms, entertainment and gaming, home networks, Internet and television services, digital health, mobile applications and services, support services, consumer apps, advanced advertising, consumer electronics, energy management, and home control systems and security.

Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webinars, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, Connected Health Summit: Engaging Consumers, and Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media.

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