Music Consumer Behavior On The Way To The Age of Access?

December 2, 2007

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I’m recently researching some things about the consume of music in the digital age. The common questions: How? Other than before? More? Paying? et cetera…
For me the most important one: “Did the attitude, the valuation of consumers to recorded music change?”
Many people, especially in the music industry, are afraid that the value of recorded music suffer and perhaps degenerate in the digital age, cause of filesharing and all the free music out there… but the figures (besides the monetary numbers, sales figures) say other things…

Listening to music still remains the number one favourite activity for young adults aged 14-24 globally.
Almost 70% of MP3 owners across the world agree that they listen to music more often since the got their MP3 player (for all numbers see the Circuits of Cool Study).
So clearly, it`s not that they don`t love music. Their valuation of music must be there…
On the other hand 43% of young adults globally delete tracks when they become bored with them. They don`t build up a big music collection. Perhaps as member of the “we paid for music generation”, could you remember yourself throwing music to the rubbish?
Consumers nowadays can get more music than ever before, experiment with new artists and genres. This means lower attention to one special artist, a less evolved relationship with the artist. Nearly 50 percent of the sample in the Circuit of Cool study agree with the statement “I have a lot of music in my MP3 player that I like, but I don`t really know what the singer/band looks like”. The attitude to recorded music has changed!

Of course, these are just a few numbers and facts, but they show once more that there is a developement that has similarities to the “Age of Access” theory of Jeremy Rifkin.

People love music, they want music, but there is no need any more to own them. Certainly there are still a lot of people out there who are proud of there big vinyl and cd collection, me too, but why should I own recorded music anymore besides the booklet?
If you ask me for the new Hives album, its usually just the time and effort of several minutes and a online connection to get the music.
The way of exploring music, finding music, buying or getting music have been changing drastically. Why should I own a special album, or even save a huge music collection, if I can get the whole collection of millions of songs in a few minutes, without leaving the house…?
I just need the access, to the internet, to a subscription service, a download service or the IM or Skype adress of a friend. That`s it.

For people like me, in former times saving my pocket money for the new Red Hot Chili Peppers release, that`s a long transformation, but not for the young guys, grown up in a time where music was always fast available and somewhere even free in the net.

The attitude to recorded music is changing. We love music, we value it, but we don`t need to own it.

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2 Responses to “Music Consumer Behavior On The Way To The Age of Access?”

  1. d.BRYJ Music Says:

    Great article. I agree with the points you make here.

    Artists and labels need to suck it up and find ways to generate income from music that don’t rely rely on sales to consumers.

    Peace+Love+Music
    d.BRYJ


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