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Who listens to music- An insight into the music consumption habit in the U.S.



The music industry has been witnessing a conspicuous growth in the music consumption habit. In 2018, the U.S. music industry recorded a growth of 11.9% to $9.846 billion as compared to $8.797 billion in 2017. Continuous growth has been a result of the escalating consumption of music through streaming, marking a jump of 30.1% to $7.37 billion from the prior year’s total of $5.66 billion.

2019 marks the third consecutive year of double-digit growth for the industry. Sales have been growing by 16.5% and 11.4% between 2017 and 2016, respectively.

“Tremendous output from the artist community fuelled a historic milestone of 50 million subscriptions to music services, which in turn helped drive U.S. music’s third consecutive year of double-digit growth,”

said RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier.

Genres like Pop, Rock, Dance/Electronic/House, Soundtracks (film or music), Hip-Hop/Rap/Trap, Singer/Songwriter, Classical (including Opera), R&B, Soul/Blues and Metal. Along with these genres, local music has been embraced by consumers across the globe. Since local culture influences consumers’ listening habits, local music has become a preference among music-lovers. 66% of consumers in Japan listen to J-Pop, 69% of consumers in France listen to Variété Française and, in Brazil, 55% listen to música popular Brasileira.

Music consumption is directly proportional to accessibility, thereby making it dependent on how music is consumed.


The Music Consumer Profile 2018

According to a report released by MusicWatch Inc., consumers between the age of 13-55 listen to music the most. The total population of men and women, above the age of 13, consuming music are at a ratio of 48:52. Music buyers, CD buyers, digital buyers, music streamers, paid subscribers, free streamers, Peer to Peer (P2P) downloaders, and streamliners based on gender of the same age bracket is 51-49%, 49-51%, 45-55%, 50-50%, 55-45%, 43-57%, 65-35%, 56-44%, men and women respectively.

Music buyers are those who have purchased at least one CD, digital track/album, vinyl record or paid to listen to online radio or on-demand music services in the past year.

Classic rock (60s-80s), 80s-90s Hits, Country and Pop hits are the most popular genres. Meanwhile, consumers between the age of 25-34 make up to 34 % of 80s-90s Hits’ consumers. The same group also makes 38% of P2P downloads and 29% of paid subscribers.

On the basis of ethnicity, 90% of the free streamers are of Non-Hispanic, Non- Latino or Non-Spanish origin. However, 78 % of the same group also pays for music streaming and 89 % of consumers are accounted as digital buyers. Free streamers of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin account to 10% of consumers. Surprisingly, 22 % of the same category also pay for a subscription.

Keeping the age bracket in mind, 29% of consumers from the age of 25-34 are paid subscribers, making it the highest buying group. Consumers from the age of 55 are the lowest ranking group of stream-rippers and paid subscribers, falling at 3% and 6%, respectively. But they ironically make the highest CD buying group of 35%. Digital buyers account to 31% of consumers between the age of 45-54. Digital buyers are those who have purchased at least one digital track/album in the past year.

24% of consumers between the age of 45-54 contribute to the sales in vinyl. Subsequently, increasing a 7.2% growth to 16.7 million units, up from 15.6 million units in the prior year. Corresponding to revenue growth of $419.2 million from $388.5 million, a 7.9% increase.

4% of digital buyers range between the age of 13-17. This group also makes 5% of CD buyers and 7% of music buyers.  The overall U.S. recorded music revenue now breaks out to 85.4% digital while physical is 11.7% and synchronisation at 2.9%. While comparing it with 2017, digital and physical made 80.4% and 17% respectively. While synch stood at 2.6%.

The RIAA numbers represent the U.S. recorded music revenue at retail, not the actual amount taken in by labels.

The Music Consumer Profile presents analysed resource data about music consumers. These profiles include a wide variety of music fans, including their ages, backgrounds, preferred listening method and favourite music genres.




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Aakanksha Sharma

Author: Aakanksha Sharma

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