Music streaming services are becoming synonymous with listening to music in the 21st century but it’s YouTube that is dominating music listening.

A new study has looked at how young people under 35 listen to music. In the digital age people are moving away from CDs and listening to music online. The proliferation of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music has put a world of unlimited music in the laps of everyone but even with over 200 million listeners combined traditional streaming services don’t even make up half of how young people are listening to music.

The Infinite Dial study by Edison Research looks at how people behave online and investigated what people use to listen to music. It showed that in the last week 50% of the US population had used YouTube Music to listen to music. Looking at 12-34 year olds that percentage rises all the way up to 70% of the US.

When looking at native music streaming services 30% of the US had used Pandora to listen to music in the past month. In second place was Spotify who 24% said they had listened to in the past month. Apple Music lagged 2 places behind from Spotify with 12% of the US population listening. Spotify and Apple Music are often posited as the others’ biggest rival but the study shows that in the US Spotify are comfortably ahead for engagement.

Pandora may be in first place behind YouTube for listener engagement but the gap between the online radio streaming service and Spotify’s on-demand streaming platform is narrowing. In 2017 Pandora listeners made up 32% of the population whilst Spotify was just 18%. Pandora has dropped since then to 30% in 2019 whilst Spotify has grown massively to 24%.

More and more people are listening to music online, especially younger audiences who are more likely to use digital services. 91% of those aged 12-24 in the US have listened to audio online in the past month the study showed. For all age groups over the age of 12 that number was still a significant 67%.

The study also shows how smart speakers are becoming more and more common. 23% of US households now have a smart speaker in them, an estimated 65 million. There is an average of 2 smart speakers to each home that owns a smart speaker in 2019 compared to 1.7 last year.