Some recent Nielsen findings will be relevant to anyone with more than a passing interest in playing and/or promoting music. In short: The more things change, the more they stay the same. A newly released study reveals that old, reliable, traditional radio is still the way to go when it comes to getting your material heard–and making some money in the process (perish the thought!).
Now that digital music officially brings in more revenue than physical recordings (nearly $9 billion in 2012 alone), how can musicians and their representatives make the most of the “new” business model? Two answers: old-school broadcasting and YouTube.
Despite all the torrenting and streaming that’s supposedly going on, radio still dominates the industry: 48% of respondents told Nielsen that they discover new music most often on the air; “friends/relatives” ranked a distant second at 10%. This statistic didn’t even include services like Spotify, Pandora or Last.fm, so if your tunes don’t appear on the AM or FM dial then you’re going nowhere fast.
A more surprising number comes from the all-important teenage demographic: A whopping 64% of teenagers named YouTube as the source they use most often to listen to music. In other words, it’s the new MTV. OK Go proved some time ago that bands don’t actually need good material to hit it big in the video world, so all you struggling rockers need to get on it.
When it comes to real-life purchases, friends matter most: 54% of respondents said that they buy music based on the recommendations of those they know, while only 25% say they are more likely to make a purchase based on info gleaned from blogs or chat rooms (sorry, Pitchfork). But the number that shocked us most concerned CDs: A full 55% of respondents called them a “very or fairly good value,” and more than a third of the teens polled reportedly bought at least one CD in the previous year (really? We almost don’t believe this).
These findings probably won’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who works in the music biz, but we have to ask: How are you responding to these changes in your business model? What’s the best way to promote your content and get played?