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Comunicar Journal 60: How to become a genius. Personalized learning and high capacities in the connected society (Vol. 27 - 2019)

Teenagers, smartphones and digital audio consumption in the age of Spotify


Luis-Miguel Pedrero-Esteban

Andrés Barrios-Rubio

Virginia Medina-Ávila


The consolidation of smartphones as dominant devices for access to digital information and entertainment has redefined the processes of production and commercialization of cultural communication industries. The nature of these screens, which prioritize the visual content over the sound, decisively influences distribution strategies in the audio market: radio operators, streaming music platforms and podcast creators need to adapt their value chains to the habits derived from this mediation, especially in the younger audience. This research identifies the practices of mobile use as an audio receiver among adolescents in Colombia, Spain and Mexico –the most representative countries of Spanish-speaking digital sound consumption– based on a descriptive study on a thousand subjects from 13 to 19 years of age. The results confirm the overwhelming dominance in this music menu in the face of low penetration of radio and podcast word content. The selection is based on personal criteria, with little margin for the prescription of family or friends. There is evidence of the roots of individual listening, linked to the brand and the visibility of audio providers, who are obliged to develop diffusion logics based not only on thematic or genre preferences, but also on the user experience.


Audio, smartphone, radio, music, podcast, digital consumption, user experience, streaming