US Teens Choose YouTube over iTunes, Radio, CDs for Music

Posted by at 11:09 am on August 15, 2012

Teenaged Americans will more readily turn to YouTube to listen to music than they will any other source. This according to a new study out from Nielsen Music 360, which found that, though radio remains the most popular medium for discovering new music, Google’s video streaming site is more popular than radio, iTunes, or CDs when it comes to listening. The study also revealed that nearly half of teens have radio apps on their smartphones and that digital music has surpassed physical CDs in terms of perception of value.

The study is based on the results from 3,000 online consumer surveys Nielsen conducted in the United States. Forty-eight percent of respondents indicated that radio is their most prominent music discovery tool, while 10 percent said friends or relatives. Only seven percent said they discover music most through YouTube.

When listening to music, though, 64 percent of respondents said they listen through YouTube the most, while 56 percent said they listen to music on the radio the most. iTunes was in third place at 53 percent, while CDs ranked fourth at 50 percent.

The finding bodes well for Google’s YouTube in terms of traffic, but it could lead to difficulties in the future. While the study’s results mean that more people are relying on the site, it may also mean additional legal issues regarding content on the site, as content providers are unhappy that users can essentially stream music for free. Last year, Google bought licensing company RightsFlow in an attempt to boost its Google Music store and aid in licensing content on YouTube.

Aside from the YouTube revelation, the study found a number of other trends in music consumption.

Among respondents with smartphones, 54 percent said they had music player apps on their devices, while 47 and 26 percent, respectively, said they had radio apps or music store apps on their phones. Sixty-three percent of purchasers of digital albums said they constituted a very or fairly good value, while 61 percent said the same for digital tracks. By way of comparison, 55 percent said the same for physical CDs.

The study also revealed that recommendations from friends are the most powerful marketing tool among teens. Fifty-four percent of respondents said that a positive recommendation from a friend made them more likely to make a purchase. No other source came close to that level of influence, as only one in four said the same for music blogs or chat rooms, while one in eight said they were influenced by endorsements from a band.

The economic downturn has had some effect on music spending habits, though mostly among older Americans. Out of respondents aged 55 and older, 41 percent had reduced their spending to a large degree, while only 28 percent of respondents aged 25 to 34 had done the same.

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