3While the prominence of playlists has already increased to become one of the dominant forms of music consumption, more listeners appear to be taking the reigns when it comes to curation, according to a recent study from Nielsen.

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Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

Playlists are clearly becoming the next big thing online as nearly three-quarters of those who stream music in the U.S. create their own online lists both for themselves and others. More than half of all music listeners create playlists, and 32% share their lists with others, up from 24% in 2016, according to Nielsen Music’s annual Music 360 Report.

2The study also found that 90% of the population in the U.S. listens to music and that they listen for 32.1 hours a week. That’s actually a big increase from last year’s report, which showed that 86 percent of the population listen to music while the listening time averaged 26.6 hours a week.

What’s even more important is that people on average spend $156 a year on music. While on the surface that sounds like it would be a boon to record labels, live performances actually garnered the largest percentage of that amount at 54%, while buying CDs, LPs, downloads and music gift cards totaled 29%. Streaming came in at just 9%, while satellite radio showed 8%.

58% of online music consumers streamed both audio and video, while 31% relied on audio-based services like Spotify, and just 11% used video services like YouTube exclusively. The study also found that 37% of music streamers thought that exclusive artist content was important when it came to choosing a music service, which was somewhat of a surprise.

Another very interesting data point from the study was that 45% of streaming users prefer a free tier, while only 29% currently subscribe to a streaming service. The study does show that free trials are very conducive to converting streamers from the free to paid tiers though. Those that refused to subscribe to the paid tier said it was too expensive, with 33% claiming that they wouldn’t stream enough each month to justify the cost.

The Music 360 Report is actually one of the better studies presented every year in that it provides a fairly good cross section of U.S. music consumers and their current habits. You can access the report here.

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