LONDON/STOCKHOLM: Nearly 17% of the UK's music listening audience now use Spotify, the Swedish free music streaming service, according to new research.

That means the platform has increased its incremental reach versus every major commercial radio station by 2.4% since last year, suggesting it has the largest reach of any digital music service in the country.

This is one of the key findings from a survey of more than 2,000 music listeners in the UK, aged 15-64, that was conducted by research firm TNS on behalf of Spotify, The Drum reported.

The research also revealed that awareness of Spotify among its core audience of 25- to 34-year-olds has grown from 80% to 90% year-on-year, and that 14% more 15- to 24-year-olds now use the service instead of listening to the radio.

But of particular note for marketers, the study found the gap between older radio listeners and Spotify users is closing because just 5% fewer 45- to 54-year-olds now use Spotify Free compared to those who tune in to the radio.

In addition, TNS suggested that Spotify users are more likely to be socially engaged than radio listeners, making them a "desirable" target audience for campaigns focused on young and connected consumers.

"These findings demonstrate that Spotify is in a unique position to reach an audience not otherwise engaged with radio," said David Cooper, Director of Audio (UK) at Spotify, who acknowledged the research was aimed at raising awareness among media buyers.

He added that there is "a shifting audio landscape where streaming continues to grow in terms of audience penetration across the generations and also engagement with the content".

And in a separate development, music industry sources have told Music Business Worldwide that Spotify has increased its global subscription base to more than 35m users after adding around 2m paying customers each month in the last quarter.

Spotify currently has 37m worldwide subscribers, up from about 30m in March, and this was built up on the back of recent discounting. However, this figure is expected to fall back by up to 1.5m users once these temporary cut-price deals end.

Data sourced from The Drum, Music Business Worldwide; additional content by Warc staff