Music is a universal language used and shared across the world. With todays apps, radios, podcasts, cell phones, and tablets you can access and share with anyone anywhere with a touch of button. But I was curious of how much we actually listen to and how do we listen to it. I didn’t think this would blow up as much as it did when I did a quick Google search. I hopped into the immense amount of knowledge from statistics, surveys, and scientific studies of actually how much audio we listen to a day and how we listen to it. Not only does this help the scientific community but also the technology community. Knowing and estimating how people listen to music can bring new and improved audio technology and advertising ideas to the table. This simple question of how much do we listen to opens up a large range of opportunities across many spectrums of our society.
According to an article done by Spin they found an Edison research study that states most U.S. residents listen to roughly four hours and five minutes of audio each day. That’s divided between broadcast radio (52 percent), owned music such as downloads, vinyl, CDs, and tapes (20 percent), streaming services such as Beats Music, Spotify, and Pandora (12 percent), satellite radio (8 percent), podcasts (2 percent), and the “other” category, like audiobooks (2 percent). This findings were very surprising to me. I would of put my money on that internet radio and other applications such as Pandora and spotify would dominate the music listening to industry. But taking a look into a deeper understanding is that my demographic of being a 19 year old college student appeals to that community and I just figured that was everyone. If I think of my parents they listen to CDs and the radio much of this split on the chart makes sense. Overall this study is pretty weak in the sense of giving me more information about how the study was actually conducted. I don’t know who the study was based on, and how they obtained the information.
I dug deeper and found a study done by Nielsen, a statistical marketing company aimed to, “study consumers in more than 100 countries to give you the most complete view of trends and habits worldwide.” Extremely trusted and a large company I was confident that their study would be noteworthy for this post. According to Nielsen’s Music 360 2014 study, “93% of the U.S. population listens to music, spending more than 25 hours each week jamming out to their favorite tunes.” 25 hours per week listening is slightly under he recorded amount in the Edison research study. But four hours with this type of study in which each individual studied can generally shift those numbers isn’t a bad range to get an idea of the time we listen to music. Personally speaking I may listen to about 3 hours a day listening to music. At the end of the week I am at 21 hours slightly under the recorded amount but I can make the statement that am not the biggest music listener for prolonged periods of time. A fun fact I found in this study is when we listen to music which is something I didn’t consider when looking into this subject but according to this study; ” 75% of Americans say they actively choose to listen to music, which is more than they claim to actively choose to watch TV (73%). Whether in the car (25%), at work (15%) or while doing chores (15%), we spend big chunks of our time listening to music.” These are reasonable statics as these are the exact times when I listen to the most music. To get down to the meat of the study lets actually look at how we listen to music. When it comes down to it the story is largely a digital one. “Americans streamed 164 billion on-demand tracks across audio and video platforms in 2014, up from 106 billion in 2013.” Not only did the number of streams in 2014 surge past the number a year earlier, but the pace of weekly streams hit new heights. In any given week across America, 67% of music fans stream music. These are great numbers and very different from the Edison study, both done in the same year. Interestingly CDs and cassettes declined, while vinyl reported its ninth consecutive year of sales growth. With 9.2 million units sold in 2014, vinyl sales roared past the 6.1 million units sold in 2013 by nearly 52%. Vinyl now accounts for 6% of physical album sales. This is unexplained but largely are caused but pop culture trends leaning towards a more vinyl era. from personal experience many of my friends and peers do buy vinyl, I personally haven’t but this odd statistic is represented in personal experience. On average In the U.S and individuals have reported spending around $109 on music. The pie graph gives an in depth look at what they spend it on.
All in all, these two studies do defer and I consider the Nielsen study to be more of a reliable source when it comes to this information. This is a hard concept to study. Age, gender, location, and many variables reflect this extremely and it is so individualized it can be difficult to get a accurate reading. But Nielsen is a large company operating all over the world and this seems to be the best statistic to get on this topic.