Nielsen: More U.S. teens listen to music via YouTube than iTunes, CDs, or radio

Radio is still the dominant way people discover music (48%) – followed by tips from friends/relatives (10%), and YouTube (7%), but more teens listen to music through YouTube than through any other source (64%) — followed by radio (56%) and iTunes (53% ) and CDs (50%) – according to results from a comprehensive, in-depth Nielsen study of consumer interaction with music in the United States, the Music 360. The new Nielsen report offers insights on all aspects of music consumption including listening and purchasing behaviors; music discovery; live events; the use of social networking and mobile music apps; as well as how the economy is affecting music sales.

“The accessibility of music has seen tremendous expansion and diversification,” said David Bakula, SVP Client Development, Nielsen, in the press release. “While younger listeners opt for technologically advanced methods , traditional methods of discovery like radio and word-of-mouth continue to be strong drivers. With so many ways to purchase, consume and discover great new music, it’s no wonder that the consumer continues to access and enjoy music in greater numbers.”

The following is a small sampling of insights included in the Music 360 report:

Radio is still the dominant way people discover music
• 48% discover music most often through the radio
• 10% discover music most often through friends/relatives
• 7% discover music most often through YouTube

More teens listen to music through YouTube than through any other source
• 64% of teens listen to music through YouTube
• 56% of teens listen to music on the radio
• 53% of teens listen to music through iTunes
• 50% of teens listen to music on CD

Positive recommendations from a friend are most likely to influence purchase decisions
• 54% are more likely to make a purchase based off a positive recommendation from a friend
• 25% are more likely to make a purchase based off a music blog/chat rooms
• 12% are more likely to make a purchase based off an endorsement from a brand
• 8% of all respondents share music on social networking sites, while 6% upload music.

Music player apps are most prevalent, followed by radio and music store apps
• 54% have music player apps on their smartphones
• 47% have radio apps on their smartphones
• 26% have music store apps on their smartphones

Males purchase rock music most often, while females prefer top 40
• 38% of males purchase rock most often
• 15% of females (compared to 9% of males) purchase top 40 most often

Digital music is seen as a slightly better value than a physical CD
• 63% of purchasers identified digital albums as a very or fairly good value
• 61% identified digital tracks as a very or fairly good value
• 55% identified physical CDs as a very or fairly good value

Younger consumers who do buy digital tracks, are more likely to purchase new music immediately after its release
• 33% of teens purchased a digital track within one week of release
• 21% of persons 18+ purchased a digital track within one week of release
• 36% of teens have bought a CD in the last year; 51% of teens have purchased some kind of music download

18-24 year olds are most likely to attend a music event (among those who attend any type of live event)
• 7% attending once a week or more
• 30% attending once a month

Although 18-24 year olds attend more live events, teens are more likely to purchase T-shirts and posters while there.
• 54% (compared to 46% of 18-24 year olds) of teen attendees purchase concert tees
• 14% (compared to 7% of 18-24 year olds) of teen attendees purchase concert posters

Listeners enjoy hearing movie soundtracks over music related TV shows or video games
• 42% enjoy hearing music via music related TV show
• 59% enjoy hearing music via movie soundtracks
• 28% enjoy hearing music via music related video games

Older consumers have decreased their spending the most during the current economy
• 41% of respondents 55+ reduced their spending to a large degree
• 39% of respondents 45-54 reduced their spending to a large degree
• Only 28% of respondents age 25-34 reduced their spending to a large degree

Data for Music 360 were collected via 3,000 online consumer surveys using Nielsen’s proprietary, high-quality ePanel in the United States. Topics addressed in this study include: where/when music is consumed, through which device(s), apps and services; digital vs. physical purchases; the process of discovery, and how/when discovery converts to purchase; insights around spending, share of wallet, and retailer preferences; live events; and much more.

Source: Nielsen Holdings N.V.

34 Comments

    1. Also, this poll is misleading. While it is convenient to discover music on YouTube — and watch the video right away at the same time — people further do not really listen to it that much through YouTube, because it is less convenient than having actual audio played through other means.

      1. Agreed. Unless the poll asked people what music source they listen to exclusively, the results prove absolutely nothing and are being grossly mis-interpreted in this article.

    1. And with reverse engineering.

      YES OBTAIN – free albums galore
      ONLY those whom are true fans and honest folk
      are buying from the one and only
      Greatest online store ever
      iTunes… and hurray for them.

      Its just like Napster all over again…

      1 – download the video
      2 – extract the audio portion – converting to Mp3
      (which the person whom posted the video
      NEVER had rights to the song in the first place)
      3 – then burn the mp3s to an audio CD
      4 – play it forever
      5 – skip steps 3, 4 and 5 and dump the songs onto your iDevice

      GOOGLE should be sued ROYALLY for the content it has there
      (smarten up RECORD companies); as it seems very few account holders really follow the rules set on Googles terms- some one needs to be responsible… better it be Google the owner of the site.

    1. Any scrap of negative news about Apple is a faint hope to millions that Apple may really be doomed, after all

      What I still struggle to comprehend is why, exactly, are there so many haters? They sneered when Apple was down, and at every product release, and still are at it

  1. What they also dont report..
    The music on YouTube, can be pirated. And that’s why many of the songs are there to begin with…

    The song is uploaded in flash/x264 as a “video” with either words or a pic instead of actual video.
    Firefox, safari, chrome, I assume ie… Can all easily download the video and the user strips the audio from it. (safari, youtube5, QuickTime. Done in a minute)

    It’s free music, that’s why they head there.
    Why torrent and risk the Riaa coming after you for downloading an album when you can just search on YouTube?

      1. NP.
        I’ve done it a few times myself… For a song that is not for sale anywhere. (Thats how I figured out how to do it)

        And pulled the audio from a City hall meeting that was recorded. (I needed the video as well.. but the audio was easier to play. Don’t ask… It was for my Uncle, legal stuff)

        Although when I did it, Quicktime was the easiest but it was m4a, no biggie I can deal with that.

  2. YouTube is the new MTV.
    WHile I can easily accept that teens use YouTube to discover music, I find it hard to swallow that it is used to “listen” to music (in a casual way). Seriously, you have to anchor yourself to the computer/device and click, click, click to bring up the next video.
    18-24 year olds are most likely to go to a live music event. Wow! Alert the media.
    I’d have to see the actual questions and methodology of this study before accepting some of these conclusions.

    1. You (or more likely someone else) sets up a play list. You can listen hours on end, and you can listen to exactly what you want to hear, unlike Pandora or radio. And you can do it for free (as explained above re: pirating).
      I love being able to look up a band, and hear really obscure concerts, interviews, similar bands that folks put together in playlists.

      1. yes – Play lists are available and many are also streaming the content on to the Apple TV also into the living room.

        Or saving content onto hard drives and small servers to play the downloads saved.

    2. Hundreds upon hundreds of full albums can be found on YouTube these days – I didn’t discover this until some months ago but boy, has it been fun *ahem* But I actually do purchase the records I really like on CD (I’m old school in that way, building a real, physical music collection ) Occasionally an album is taken down but it’s amazing how many of them stay up – and there are many added each day. Have record companies stopped caring and given up? Who knows…

      All I know is that I can listen to music on YT for hours on end, lol. Why go through the effort to download the stuff on the hard drive when It’s very convenient to stream while surfing the net for other things. I’m not a teenager either, turning 41 this fall *sigh*

      1. almost as old as you… Almost 😉

        I also prefer the actual CD when I do buy an album.. So I can rip it how I want etc.

        and yeah, it’s odd how long they stay up on youtube.

        1. Be careful – you’ll forget time and place when hitting the treasure trove that is YT’s music content 😉 Albums, concerts, bootlegs, the most obscure stuff you can imagine… it’s all there, conveniently now downloaded as one video file (very decent quality, too) so no need to even make playlists anymore.

        2. Guaranteed the next Nielsen rating has a spike in the over 30 range… they helped let the cat out of the bag here 🙂
          (I’m in the close to 50 range, but a lot of my job revolves around keeping up with this stuff…)

  3. The majority of teens and adults that I see everyday are listening to their idevices. Yup iDevice like iPhone and iPod. I barely see people using other mp3/4 players. I’ve seen some android phones but not that much.

  4. So Google’s YouTube is the music selection of choice?

    Since when did the music industry bless that feature? Oh that’s right, they haven’t. However, Goggle would love for all of us to believe that this is the latest teen trend.

    1. AND Google would never wish to be seen responsible to this TREND of freely sharing music

      likewise giving away freely an operating systems whom it then orders devices from the hardware cloner “slamdung” promoting use of youtube and pirated songs

      Oh Google your doomed.

  5. Another creative writing. After apple removes YouTube from ios6, the shysters come up with this news. Basically, they try to comeuppance with every bit of negativity.

    Their 50 million smatrphonesby Samsung has proven to be alie. So they try to drum up new fantasies.

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