Survey Reveals Music Discovery Habits

Radio remains the dominant form of music discovery in the United States, unless you happen to be a teenager.

According to Nielsen’s recent “Music 360” report, 48% of those surveyed said radio was how they found new music, followed by recommendations from friends/family (10%), and YouTube (7%). But the teenage results show they listen to new music mostly through YouTube (64%), then radio (56%), iTunes (53%) and CDs (50%).

“The accessibility of music has seen tremendous expansion and diversification,” said David Bakula, SVP Client Development, Nielsen. “While younger listeners opt for technologically advanced methods, traditional methods of discovery like radio and word-of-mouth continue to be strong drivers. With so many ways to purchase, consume and discover great new music, it’s no wonder that the consumer continues to access and enjoy music in greater numbers.”

There are approximately 42.7 million individuals between the ages of 10-19, or 13.8% of the country’s total population, according to US Census Data from 2010. People ages 20-29 account for roughly the same percentage as teens, with 30-39 year olds slightly less at 12.9%. People ages 40-49 years make up the largest slice at 14.1%, and those 50-59 years of age amount to 13.6%. There are an additional 40.5 million people below the age of 10 who will grow up with a multitude of discovery options at their fingertips, from YouTube to traditional radio to Spotify and beyond.

Young consumers who purchase digital tracks are also more likely to download a song soon after release. Thirty-three percent of teens reported buying a digital track within one week of release, versus only 21% of those ages 18 and above for the same period.

And while 18-24 year olds are most likely to attend live events, 54% of teenagers who go to concerts will purchase t-shirts, versus 46% of 18-24 year olds.

Other interesting findings from the Nielsen study show 54% of respondents are more inclined to purchase something if a friend gives it a recommendation, and 25% are more likely to purchase something hyped in the blogosphere. Of smartphone users, 54% report having some kind of music player app, and 47% have a radio app.


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