Nielsen music study shows other traditional models in decline

The old ways of listening to and purchasing music continue to erode, but radio remains the primary means of discovering music, according to a new Nielsen report issued Tuesday.

David Bakula, senior vp of client development at Nielsen, said in a statement, “While younger listeners opt for technologically advanced methods, traditional methods of discovery like radio and word-of-mouth continue to be strong drivers.”

According to the “Music 360″ report, 64% of teens — traditionally the most active consumers of music — listen to music through Google’s online video service YouTube. However, 56% of teens still listen to the radio, while just 50% consume music via CDs.

Digital music is now viewed as a better value than a CD: 63% of purchasers called digital albums a very good or fairly good value, while 55% called CDs a very good or fairly good value.

Just 36% of teens bought a CD in the last year, while 51% purchased some kind of music download.

The depressed economy has had an impact on buying patterns. Older consumers — the CD generation — reported they had cut back on spending, with 41% of those 55-years-old and over and 39% of those aged 45-54 reducing their purchasing. But just 28% of respondents aged 25-34 reported a spending reduction.

Some old-school methods of learning about music still have some traction.

Overall, 48% of listeners discover music through the radio, while 10% discover through friends or relatives. Just 7% employ YouTube as a discovery tool.

Word of mouth still has pull: 54% of consumer are more likely to make a purchase off a positive recommendation from a friend, while just 25% are influenced by a music blog or chat room and 12% are swayed by endorsements from a brand.

The report said that 42% enjoy hearing music via a music-related TV show, while 59% prefer soundtracks.

The 18- to 24-year-old demo is the top consumer of live music, with 7% attending one or more music event per week and 30% attending once a month. But teens are tops in merch purchases, with 54% of teen concert attendees buying t-shirts and 14$ buying posters.

Music 360 data was collected from 3,000 online consumer surveys.

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