Friends’ tips, radio still drive musical choices

By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY 8/05/12

The digital revolution may not be as revolutionary as believed, according to a music survey that found listeners more in tune with friends’ tips and radio than blogs and social networking.

The Nielsen study shows that file sharing, legal and illicit, is not a primary source of discovering and acquiring music, and that only 10% of fans share music on social network sites. Those uploading music: 8%.

Positive recommendations from friends are most likely to influence music purchases for 57% of respondents, compared to the 27% who prefer music blogs and chat rooms.

Data were collected from 3,000 online surveys for the Nielsen Music 360 Study, a comprehensive look at U.S. consumer interaction with music: where it’s consumed, through which devices, apps and services, digital vs. physical preferences, the process of discovery, buying decisions, retailer choices, concert attendance and more.

An overview report will be released this week to record labels, distributors, retailers, advertisers and agencies.

Results indicate that the airwaves remain a dominant influence: 43% discover music most often through radio, while 13% are alerted to new tunes and acts via friends and relatives and 8% by watching YouTube.

Other findings:

•Each month, consumers spend an average $22.70 on music, $36.60 on video games and $83.30 on TV packages (excluding premium channels).

•Digital albums and tracks were deemed a very or fairly good value by 62% and 61%, respectively, while 56% identified physical CDs as a very or fairly good value.

•Young consumers (33% of teens and 34% of those 25-34) purchased a digital album or track within one week of release.

•The group aged 18-34 frequents live music events most often, with 6% attending once a week or more and 32% once a month. But teens are more likely to buy T-shirts at a concert (54% compared to 46% of the 18-34 set) and posters (14% compared to 7%).

•Among smartphone owners, 53% have music player apps, 44% have radio apps and 28% have music store apps.

•The recession has reduced spending on music to a large degree for 26% of the 25-34 age group, 38% of those 45-54 and 40% for respondents 55 and older.

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