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New insights for better understanding music consumers

By | Published on Tuesday 2 June 2015

Chris Carey

Back to what we learned at The Great Escape this year, and as part of the CMU Insights strand ‘What’s The Point Of A Record Label Anyway?’ Chris Carey of Media Insight Consulting shared some of the findings of his company’s recent survey of UK consumers that looked at trends in recorded and live music, and the merch sector.

In the latest edition of the CMU Trends Report, Carey summarises that research in five key points, the highlights of which are as follows…

1. UK consumers are passionate about music
“When you look at our consumer research in the UK, 30% of the population either agree or strongly agree that music is their number one passion. When you talk to people aged 16-24 that number grows to 44%. And of those 35-44 – who we often consider too old to be interested – 36% agree! There is a passion for music that transcends age. A key challenge for the UK music industry is harnessing that passion and transforming it into income, so the industry can invest in making more music”.

2. When it comes to music listening, radio still matters
“When you ask people about how they listen to music, traditional radio is still the most popular way people engage. 68% of people in the UK have listened to the radio in the last six months. While traditional radio is the most popular way to listen to music, there is an expected skew towards the older age brackets. On the flipside, 76% of 16-24s listen to music on video sites”.

3. Music discovery. There is more to life than playlists, but they really help!
“73% of 16-24s discover new music on the internet, 42% discover on music apps and 35% through streaming playlists. These numbers are far higher than the UK average, demonstrating how youth music consumption in the UK is an increasingly digital culture”.

4. People still buy music. And people still buy CDs!
“When we look at the UK picture, 58% of the UK population bought a CD in the last twelve months! Importantly, there are almost twice as many people buying CDs as there are buying tickets for gigs and concerts. When you look at the demographics, it is that older generation still purchasing CDs, with young people preferring downloads and streaming.
But depending on the composition of your fanbase, there can be a lot of money to be made by serving the older generation with the physical product they are still inclined to purchase”.

5. People buy merchandise at gigs more than anywhere else
“‘At the gig’ is the most popular merchandise outlet in the UK with 35% of merchandise buyers engaging this way. This is perhaps not too much of a surprise when one considers that at the gig is often the only time that fans come into contact with merch buying opportunities. The music business at large really could do more than it already is to work with promoters and get ‘merch plus ticket’ bundles on the table for fans”.

Premium CMU subscribers can read Carey’s full summary in the latest Trends Report, or here online using the password contained in the most recent CMU Digest email. To become a premium subscriber click here. And for more information about Media Insight Consulting’s consumer research click here.