Survey Results: How we listen to music…

posted in: Blog 7

I recently shared a survey with my newsletter subscribers about how they listen to music. I’ve been curious about how technology is changing our listening and consumption habits. Data shows more and more people using streaming services (Apple, Spotify, Pandora, etc), while purchasing less CDs and MP3s. Being a curious guy, I wanted to find out for myself…

Anyway, here’s a breakdown of the questions and responses – enjoy!

Question 1: Where/How do you listen to music?

Top Answers: 75% listen to music in their car; 50% listen to music on YouTube; 54% listen from their computer.

Surprise: 46% use physical CDs

Question 2: How often do you purchase CDs or MP3s?

Answers: 47% responded “slightly often”, while 26% said “never”. Surprise: only 1% responded “extremely often”

Question 3: Which social media services do you use?

Top Answers: 78% use Facebook; 67% use YouTube; 38% use LinkedIn. Surprise: More people use Pinterest (26%) and Instagram (26%) than Twitter (24%)

Question 4: How often do you attend live musical performances?

Top Answers: 47% responded they go 1-3 times per year. Surprise: over 11% NEVER go to live shows

Question 5: Do you play piano?

Top Answer: 47% of my subscribers play piano! The number would be over 57% if you include the ones who “quit”. Surprise: over 10% once played piano, but no longer play 🙁

Question 6: On a typical day, how many hours do you listen to music?

Answer: The average person listens to 4 hours of music every day. Surprise: The answers ranged widely from 1 to 18 hours! There were many people who listen more than 10 hours a day (wow), but the majority of the answers fell between 2 and 6 hours.

Other Questions: There were two questions asking about the “last performance/concert you went to?” and your “favorite musician/band?”. These were “write-in” questions and the answers (as you can expect) were all over the place. Many people found it hard to pinpoint ONE favorite musician/band, but it was great learning about everyone’s different musical tastes. The answers ranged from classical to jazz to metal and everything in between. There was also a question asking people if they would support a patronage-subscription model – essentially, paying $1 to $10 per month to receive new music, sheet music and exclusive content. Over half (55%) would be interested. As an independent artist, this is an encouraging sign that many are willing to support (and pay for) content they value and believe in.

Interpreting the Data: My overall sense is people ARE in fact moving to streaming services primarily for the convenience (and cost?) factor. Live performances/concerts are still popular, but without reference data it’s hard to see if there is an upward or downward trend. Many people are listening to music “on the go” (phones, cars). Streaming services make sense. I was surprised at how many people listen to music via YouTube. I was also surprised by the high number of people who listen to AM/FM radio and CDs – I would have expected these numbers to be much smaller. It shouldn’t be a shock, but I wasn’t aware of the high percentage and number of piano players in my audience. At the same time, I was slightly saddened at how many “once played” but no longer consider themselves piano players.

I wanted to keep the survey short, but now that it’s completed, there were other questions I wish I had asked. For example: “Do you subscribe (pay) for streaming service?”. “How much do you spend (each month) for music? (streaming, MP3, CD, etc..)”. I also should have included some basic demographic questions like age, gender, etc..

Going forward: I’m definitely digesting all of this information and using it to inform me on upcoming projects. Where do I spend my time and energy? I admit to struggling with this on a regular basis. Technology and our habits are changing so quickly – it’s hard for any independent artist to keep up.

Anyway, if you’d like to chime in with your own experiences or to share your insights – I’d love to hear your thoughts – please comment below.


7 Responses

  1. Tim Paul
    | Reply

    The 46% who listen to cds still was a surprise but the rest really makes a lot of sense in today’s market world. I think we all listen to more music than we realize because it surrounds us in almost everything we do. Try instead to wake up and go a full day without listening to any music at all. I believe the only way you can accomplish this feat would be to stay locked up inside your home in a completely controlled music free envirnonment. Leave your home and you will listen to music. And that is a good thing. BTW Naked Piano is a staple in our auto CD changer.

    • pianoxcape
      | Reply

      Thanks Tim – you’re the BEST!!!

  2. Andrea Frase
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing the results! Very informative!

  3. Joey
    | Reply

    Fantastic results and survey Gary. Very interesting. Soundcloud is pointless by the looks of things which is interesting. Thanks for the data. Ps my mum bought me your Elements book recently and I’m like loving discovering the details in your music. Much love from the Uk. Joey.

    • pianoxcape
      | Reply

      Thanks Joey… the interesting thing about Soundcloud – it is very popular with younger listeners. For example, my son (15 years old) and his friends get almost all their content from SoundCloud and YouTube. My listeners tend to be older which is probably why the Soundcloud numbers were so low.

  4. Lorraine Nielsen
    | Reply

    I much prefer listening to CDs, having it in my hand physically, and I like reading the cover sheet in them regarding the the making of the music and how the artist thanks everyone who helped make it possible. I’m happy that 46% are still using CDs, there is still hope they will continue to be produced!

    • pianoxcape
      | Reply

      Thanks Lorraine… here’s to HOPE!!!

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