48% of Americans say they discover music most often through the radio, while just 10% find new music most often through friends and relatives, and 7% through YouTube, per results from a Nielsen study released in August 2012. This mirrors the April 2012 results of a Jacobs Media survey, which found that among the 57,000 US and Canadian radio listeners polled, 50.8% cited FM radio as their primary source for finding out about new music and artists. This made radio a far more popular choice than friends or other people (9.8%), kids (4.9%), and Facebook (4.8%).
Radio Popular With Teens, Too
Data from Nielsen’s “Music 360” report indicates that 56% of American teens listen to music on the radio, making it a more common listening channel than iTunes (53%) and CDs (50%). Even so, YouTube is most popular, with 64% of teen respondents reporting listening to music via the online platform.
Arbitron figures show that radio has high reach with older demographics, too. The latest estimates, released in June, find that radio reaches 70.5% of the US population aged 12 and older, rising to 74.4% of the population aged 25 to 54.
Music Purchases Driven by Friend Recommendations
Further data from the Nielsen report indicate that 54% of Americans are more likely to make a purchase based off a positive recommendation from a friend. Music blog and chat rooms similarly influence one-quarter, while 12% are more likely to make a purchase based off a brand’s endorsement.
Breaking down purchases by gender and type, the report finds that 38% of men purchase rock music most often, while 15% of women (compared to 9% of men) buy top 40 tunes most often.
- Music buyers were more likely to say that digital albums (63%) and digital tracks (61%) are very or fairly good value than could say the same about physical CDs (55%). That could be one reason why physical music sales are forecast to decrease in the US this year, while mobile and online revenues are projected to increase.
- Per Nielsen, 51% of teens have bought a music download in the past year, compared to 36% who have bought a CD.
- Older respondents are more likely than younger Americans to have decreased their music spending as a result of the economy. 41% of those aged over 55 and 39% aged 45-54 reduced their spending to a large degree, versus 28% of those aged 25-34.
About the Data: The Nielsen data was collected via 3,000 online consumer surveys using Nielsen’s proprietary ePanel in the US.