The Shiny New Thing: Smart Speakers In Homes Result In More Audio Listening

If you are an audio content producer, the most important thing you should know about the ascension of smart speakers is this; smart speakers in homes result in more audio listening.  A change in overall consumption and listening behavior is the most significant finding from a major new study from Edison Research and NPR.  The Smart Audio study debuted at the RAIN Podcast Business Summit this week. 

Smart speakers are showing up in family rooms and living rooms (52%), kitchens (25%) and bedrooms (24%).  In many cases, places where radios or other audio devices did not exist before or had been relegated to the basement - one interviewee said she gave her radios away.  

Tom Webster, Vice President, Edison Research

Tom Webster, Vice President, Edison Research

Podcasts get a great boost from these devices, with 70% of smart speaker owners listening versus 45% of non-owners.

If the top takeaway is more audio being consumed, the next are the giant themes of ease of use, choice and time saving

If the top take away is more audio being consumed, the next takeaways are the giant themes of ease of use, choice, and time saving. Edison VP, Tom Webster noted that much like the old Star Trek TV series, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, these devices mark the start of the era of talking to computers. Apple's Siri was the first iteration, but smart speakers remove the need to put a thumb on a device. The magic of just using voice to execute commands was clear throughout the video interviews with users during the presentation. One woman was calling up music while holding a newborn, kids chose music to dance to, a man asked for sports scores, another added to a grocery list. 

Will these devices be the shiny new thing that ends up in a drawer like a fidget spinner?  The study shows how rapidly smart speakers are being integrated into everyday life which suggests this is not a fad. In fact, 45% of owners expect to purchase another device and many households already have more than one.  65% wouldn't go back to their life before the smart speaker.

All of this amounts to another burgeoning and critical platform in this golden age of audio, that extends beyond the radio. New audio opportunity awaits.  Mastering it with distinctive content among a cornucopia of choice and instant gratification will be the challenge for audio producers.  

We post more about "skills" development for smart speakers at 

Edison/NPR have a webinar on June 28 with the full presentation.  Well worth it.  


Pleased to be at Morning Show Bootcamp this August in Atlanta

Pleased to be at Morning Show Bootcamp this August in Atlanta