Edison Research is out with a new study about how “new music seekers” listen to, discover, and share music. Based on 3,159 online interviews conducted in January and February before the COVID-19 disruptions, the study focuses on the 24% of Americans age 12+ that say it’s “very important” for them to learn about and stay up to date with music.
This new music hungry group is more likely to be young, but there’s a considerable number who are older. As listeners age, fewer say it’s “very important” to keep up with music, the study shows. More than one third (35%) of those age 12-34 say it’s “very important,” compared to 25% of 35-54’s and 10% of those 55+. But while 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. Nearly half (46%) are ages 12-34 and 54% are 35+.
With so much audio listening taking place in the car, the study examined what new music seekers are listening to when they’re behind the wheel. As it does across the entire population, AM/FM radio is the dominant audio platform used in the car with 80% of new music seekers 18+ who have been in a car in the last month saying they use AM/FM there. Two thirds (66%) say they listened to owned digital music in the car, followed by podcasts (52%), CD player (50%), online radio (50%) and SiriusXM (32%).
AM/FM’s in car dominance with new music seekers spans all demos, although it narrows with younger demos and widens with older motorists. Broadcast radio also has the edge (35%) over all other platforms as the audio source new music seekers use most often in the car, compared to owned music, which includes digital files and CDs (28%). AM/FM’s share in the car changes when broken out by demos. More than half (55%) of new music seekers 55+ say it’s the source they use most often in the car. But it’s still used by younger new music seekers too, with 29% of 18-34 year-olds saying it’s their primary audio source in the car, tied for No. 1 with owned music.
Keep in mind that the study deals with the 24% who say keeping up to date with music is very “important to them”. Nearly twice as many (64%) “satisfied listeners” aged 18+, those who don’t care about discovering new music, say they use AM/FM the most in the car. “Given the fact that AM/FM radio also provides yesterday’s favorites, as well as news, talk and sports it’s not surprising that its in-car share nearly doubles to 64% among this group of satisfied listeners,” Edison Research VP Nicole Beniamini said Thursday during a webinar presentation of the findings.
New-music seekers are also willing to pay for music services, the data shows. Forty-nine percent have listened to Spotify in the last month, and of those, 45% have a paid subscription to the streaming service. And more than one-third of new-music seekers say they have a subscription to SiriusXM – nearly double the percentage of the general population 12+.
The platforms used for new music discovery among this 24% slice of the population vary greatly depending on the age of the listener. While YouTube (68%) tops the list of sources that new-music seekers age 12+ say they use for music discovery overall, AM/FM radio is among the top three choices for all demos except 12-34 and rises to the top among listeners age 55+ at 70%. And among the one-third of Americans age 12+ 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%.
The study, part of Edison’s Infinite Dial trove of consumer research into media and tech consumption behaviors, shows music listening is a private experience for many new-music seekers. More than two-thirds (67%) say they do most or all of their audio listening through headphones/earbuds, with 30% saying all of their audio listening is private. This isn’t limited to the youngest listeners – even the majority of new-music seekers age 35-54 listen to most of their music through headphones/earbuds.
That makes social media an important way to share music. More than half (53%) of new-music seekers indicate they currently use social media to share updates on music they are listening to with friends and family. Facebook is by far the social brand used most often by new music seekers (43%) with Instagram a distant second (20%). But the two are neck-and-neck among 12-34 year-old new music seekers.
Surprisingly, 23% of new-music seekers age 12-34 say they use video games as a way to learn about music and around half (51%) watch live-streamed video games, so they are exposed to music through that outlet as well.
“New-Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial Report” is based on 3,159 online interviews conducted in January and February, 2020 as 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. View the webinar HERE.