Studies: Consumers Prefer Mix Of Music Ownership & Free Streaming

image from images2.layoutsparks.comeMarketer compares two reports on studies of consumer music preferences to reveal that not only do listeners prefer music ownership over subscription streaming but that they tend towards a mix of ownership and free listening. Given that the most recent survey reporting stats on streaming music would have been conducted before Facebook's F8 Conference, it remains to be seen what the Facebook effect will be though Spotify's membership increased over 50% in the week following the conference announcements.

eMarketer recently brought together two studies to gain a sense of music listeners' relationship to music in the cloud.


The first of the two studies was a survey conduced by Insight Research Group on behalf of eMusic that revealed the widely noted insight that 91% of those polled preferred to own music rather than subscribing to it. However, as noted by eMarketer and illustrated in the chart above, ownership was split relatively evenly between digital and physical copies. In addition, free listening was nearly as popular followed by free downloads. All four options strongly outweighed subscription services.


The second study cited, a survey of U.S. Internet radio listeners conducted by Parks Associates for TargetSpot, revealed that "nearly seven in 10 US internet radio listeners said they preferred to purchase music after hearing a song on an online radio station." Purchase preferences split between such retailers as iTunes or Amazon and purchase via the Internet radio website.

As eMarketer notes, a strong dynamic exists for free streaming as a way to preview music leading to outright purchase but that dynamic is combined with a variety of purchase choices.

While it's not surprising that Facebook's recent embrace of music services is increasing their uptake, how much of that is also contingent on the recent decision by most major music services to offer free versions remains to be seen. It's quite likely that we'll see more free preview streaming by listeners with increased purchasing via such services that will potentially have a negative impact on retailers such as iTunes and Amazon rather than an uptake in premium cloud-based subscription services.

image via LayoutSparks

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and also blogs at This Business of Blogging. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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