Twenty-four percent of Americans age 12+ say that it is “very important” for them to learn about and stay up–to–date with music, according to new research released from The Infinite Dial® study from Edison Research and Triton Digital®.
Findings from never-before-seen research debuted in a webinar, New Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial Report, presented by Edison Research VP Nicole Beniamini. This new research explores how this 24% of America — the “new-music seekers” for whom learning about and staying up–to–date with music is very important — listens to, discovers, and shares music.
As listeners age, fewer say it is “very important” to learn about and stay up–to–date with music:
35% of those age 12-34 say it is “very important,” 25% of those age 35-54 say it is “very important,” and 10% of those age 55+ say it is “very important.” Nearly half of new-music seekers, 46%, are between the ages of 12-34, and 54% are 35+, so although interest in new music is more concentrated in very young demos, there are still large numbers of new-music seekers over the age of 35.
New-music seekers are willing to pay for music services. Forty-nine percent of new-music seekers have listened to Spotify in the last month, and of those, 45% have a paid subscription. More than one-third of new-music seekers say they have a subscription to SiriusXM, which is nearly double the percentage of the general population 12+. Many of these new-music subscribers are maintaining paid subscriptions to both SiriusXM AND a streaming music platform.
Sources for new music discovery vary greatly depending on the age of the listener.
Overall, YouTube (68%) tops the list of sources that new-music seekers age 12+ say they use for music discovery, followed by friends and family (47%), and AM/FM radio (46%). The top three sources for music discovery are as follows for three different age groups:
Listeners age 12-34: YouTube (72%), Spotify (51%) and friends and family (49%)
Listeners age 35-54: YouTube (64%), AM/FM radio (53%), and Facebook (45%)
Listeners age 55+: AM/FM radio (70%), YouTube (57%), friends and family (53%)
“It’s surprising to see how high YouTube ranks for music discovery among all ages. This new research gives us a better grasp of just how important online platforms are for music discovery, especially among those who value new music. And while AM/FM radio is not so much a place to ‘learn about new music,’ our data shows that it’s still a place to ‘learn what the hits are,” said Beniamini.
Among the one-third of Americans age 12+ (33%), for whom learning about and staying up-to-date with music is “not at all important,” AM/FM radio tops the list as the source used most often for music discovery at 35%, followed by YouTube at 17%, and friends and family at 17%.
Twenty-three percent of new-music seekers age 12-34 say they use video games as a way to learn about music. Video games as a source of music discovery be surprising to some, but around half (51%) of new-music seekers watch live-streamed video games, so they are exposed to music through that outlet as well.
Music listening is a private experience for many new-music seekers. Sixty-seven percent of new-music seekers say they do most or all of their audio listening through headphones/earbuds, with 30% saying all of their audio listening is private. This is not limited to the youngest listeners, as even the majority of new-music seekers age 35-54 listen to most of their music through headphones/earbuds. Social media becomes important, then, as a way to share music, because 53% of new-music seekers say they currently use social media to share updates on music they are listening to with friends and family.
How This Study Was Conducted
3,159 online interviews were conducted January and February, 2020, before COVID-19 disruptions. The online interviews are a supplement to The Infinite Dial telephone-based survey. The online survey was offered in both English and Spanish and is weighted to match the U.S. 12+ population.
About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.