Music Marketing

Twitter Not A Top Source For Music Discovery [STUDY]

Twitter2(UPDATED) According to a recent NPD Group/NARM study, Twitter was found not to be a top source of music discovery, nor was it even found to be a common outlet that people turn to after making a discovery.

This does make sense intuitively due to the fact that Twitter is limited to primarily a 140-character text message, and is missing some key elements that help complete the discovery process including biographical information, photos, and streaming audio and video. These elements generally can (and should) be easily found on an artist’s website or Facebook page.

Even after making their discovery elsewhere, only 2% of NPD’s respondents said they utilize Twitter to follow-up with their discovery. This falls well behind other follow-up activities like streaming the video (19%), purchasing the download (14%) and waiting to hear the song on the radio (12%).

The study also found that broadcast radio, TV, and one's own personal connections like friends, family, and co-workers continue to be how most people discover new music. For strictly Internet-based discovery, online radio and web videos were found to be important for the most “active” music fans.

Should Twitter Get With The Program?

Based on the data presented above, one would argue that Twitter needs to evolve beyond the 140-character text message and include more media options and offer expanded user profiles. However, if such were to occur, it simply wouldn’t be Twitter anymore. It would lose focus from its core competency as a service – which is to quickly inform users on whatever topic they’re interested in, and to offer an engaged communication channel to people whose lives we choose to follow.

If people want more media options and expanded music profiles, they'll most likely head to Facebook or the artist's website. Twitter serves a differnet purpose. It's about engaging with an online community and staying highly informed. While indirect music discovery can occur during this process, it would generally fall under the category of another found leading source of organic music discovery – personal recommendations.

Twitter should just continue being Twitter, and not be concerned about trying to be all things to everyone. After all, if all you're trying to do is become everything to everyone, you’ll end up becoming nothing to no one. 

This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and independent music business professional - Hisham Dahud (@HishamDahud)

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  1. This study asked the wrong questions (as NARM tends to do). Twitter is not about following up on something, its about gaining something new. You go on twitter looking for “new” or “whats going on” or “something interesting” in general, then stumble upon new music. Twitter gets a 3-5% CTR on our campaigns which is incredible for any free to the end user service, this is because people are looking to discover not looking to research. It’s one of the few ways to truly reach a broad audience.

  2. Interested to know who paid for the study. If it was a broadcasting company like Clear Channel, then you’ve Got to take any ‘results’ they provide with a grain of salt.

  3. this poster must be smoking Hishish. Twitter is a personalized experience, you follow the people, magazines and sources for new music YOU respect and appreciate, and you follow them because you value their opinions. HENCE, Twitter is the BEST PERSONALIZED source for Music Discovery.

  4. Clyde – Thanks for reading.
    I agree with you that Twitter is a personalized experience in of it’s own. In terms of media content however, Twitter does not suffice in providing users the resources they need to complete a discovery other than word-of-mouth recommendations (as you so described).
    Perhaps the data collected by the NPD Group and NARM might indicate that the majority of the population is yet to catch on to the more personalized methods of discovering new music.
    Look out for an article discussing this very issue on tomorrow’s blog…

  5. Great response Hisham.
    Many research studies point to the fact that mainstream music fans generally listen to the radio or talk to friends in order to get up to speed on the latest music trends. Only music-tech savvy people “lean in” to research websites/blogs or follow tweets for music discovery. Those who have commented on this article likely fall in the latter category, given they take the time to read and comment on your article!
    You may have heard about the beta AudioVroom web app launched with Facebook’s new mobile platform less than a month ago–with the mainstream user in mind. We wrote an algorithm to capture what is trending on Twitter and other social networks, incorporating the data very visually into the dashboard our users access. This way, users see what they like, click on it and launch a new station. As they enjoy the experience, AudioVroom gets to know user tastes, presents a more personalized experience as music fans connect directly with each other and in groups. What is trending is laid out for them, aggregated and presented seamlessly. No complicated spreadsheets, no need to search by artist name, and no need to tweet one song at a time.
    Look forward to reading the blog on personalized music discovery methods.

  6. @Sanem
    AudioVroom quickly lost my vote when I went to the website ( and it required me to ‘Login to Facebook’ first. In other words, you might want to let me take the website for a test run or let me at least browse it before requiring me to give up my private Facebook information.
    Yours Truly,
    Semi-mainstream Music Fan

  7. That is exactly why 3rd party tools for music discovery on Twitter are rolling out. Take a look at this one, for instance:
    “So, if you’re on Twitter already and want to give a brand new music service a try, you should check out — It’s your own personal Twitter soundtrack – and it rocks. The mix of tunes are as eclectic as the people you follow, but it will certainly prove to be interesting.”

  8. Personally, Twitter has always been one of the best sources for discovering new music. It’s important both for recommnedations and trends plus also keeping up to the minute with new stuff.

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