UK Study: Teens Relationship With Music Shifting

A new UK Music research study highlights the complexity of consuming, copying and sharing of music between 14-24 year-olds.

Teen ipod Key findings:

  • Music remains the most valued form of entertainment
  • 87% said that copying between devices is important to them
  • 86% of respondents have copied a CD for a friend; 75% have sent music by email, Bluetooth, Skype or MSN; 57% have copied a friend's entire music collection; 39% have downloaded music
  • There is real interest for new licensed services. 85% of P2P
    downloaders said they would be interested in paying for an unlimited
    all-you-can-eat MP3 download service from an online storage site; and 38% have ripped a TV, radio or internet stream
  • The computer is the main entertainment hub – 68% of respondents use it every day to listen to music. The average teen has amassed a collection of more than 8000 tracks/

  • Ownership of music is hugely important – both online and offline
  • Popularity of P2P remains unchanged since 2008 – 61% said they download music using P2P networks or torrent trackers. Of this group, 83% are doing so on a weekly or daily basis
  • Young people have an inherent sense of what copyright is, but choose to ignore it – the vast majority of respondents knew that sharing copyrighted content is not legal, yet continue to do so.

“Ironically, for me, perhaps the biggest change is context. Over the past twelve months, the licensed digital music market has diversified enormously – epitomised by competition in the download market and the traction being gained by streaming services. Meanwhile, the prospect of commercial partnerships with ISPs lies tantalisingly on the horizon. And, of course, the UK’s artists and creative community continue to break new ground: innovating, experimenting and engaging with fans in all manner of new exciting and ways," commented UK Music CEO, Feargal Sharkey.

“Clearly, the shape of our entire business will continue to evolve. However, we will achieve nothing if we do not work with music fans, and young music fans in particular. They are hugely demanding in their needs, but collectively we must rise to that challenge," he continued. “We ignore engagement at our peril. That message is loud and clear.”

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  1. “There is real interest for new licensed services. 85% of P2P downloaders said they would be interested in paying for an unlimited all-you-can-eat MP3 download service from an online storage site”
    Sadly, unless Apple step up to the plate (which reality means the majors) we have been here many times before with “all you can eat” MP3 download sites. The listener wants a central site that will offer every track they could ever think of for one monthly fee. History has shown us that there ends up being 5 different branded portals, all offering “as much as you can eat,” but each has different music from different labels.

  2. “Ownership of music is hugely important” – I take it to mean that the child has the music in their collection or not, not whether the music is actually “owned” legally by them or not…?

  3. The results of this survey definitely ring true with me.
    One of the recent reported trends that really doesn’t ring true with me is the idea that streamed music is the future of music.
    I think streamed music definitely will replace the role of radio in providing an easy way for people to find and sample new music.
    But once I’ve found an artist I like I want to have it on my hard drive/MP3 player so I can hear it whenever I want, not just when I am in range of a reliable, high speed Internet connection.
    Maybe in 100 years the whole planet will be blanketed in rock-solid, 100Mbps+, wireless, unmetered broadband. But until that happens I will not rely on streaming to provide me with on-demand, repeated listening of my favourite artists.
    Even then, I would still always be concerned that one day I will go to the streaming site and my favourite song(s) won’t there anymore.
    A file in the hand is worth 2 in the cloud.

  4. Sam K – good point.
    Was the arrival of tapes and CDs the death of radio? No. Both satisfied different needs. Radio was ambient, mood setting, background whereas CDs and tapes were intent to listen to a specific song or artist (regardless of whether the listener had control of what is played or not)
    The arrival of streaming services such as Spotify will probably revolutionize radio more rather than digital downloads. However at the moment all the talk is about streaming services taking away download to own completely. I think everyone is one step ahead of themselves and we have gotten ourselves into this “futurist” mentality where everyone is looking for the next way to make money off of music regardless of what is currently working or not.

  5. Here’s my takeaway:
    From The Register’s coverage of last year’s survey, when the sponsoring organization was called British Music Rights:
    “The average size of an MP3 collection is 1,770 tracks…” (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/16/bmr_music_survey/print.html)
    From the summary above:
    “The average teen has amassed a collection of more than 8000 tracks”
    That’s over a 400% increase in one year. If I am understanding these summaries correctly, the average UK 14-24 year-old added about 500 tracks per month to his or her collection in the year between the two surveys.
    Again from the above 2009 summary: “57% have copied a friend’s entire music collection.” Anecdotally, I am hearing a lot about young people exchanging the contents of 100-500 gigabyte drives — the whole thing.

  6. Oops, my bad. The 2008 survey was not restricted to the 14-24 age group, so I have compared apples and oranges. Please disregard the first three paragraphs above.
    The comment about “57% have copied a friend’s entire music collection” still applies, though. 8000 tracks is roughly 6 times the collection I had at that age, and I was an extraordinarily greedy music consumer.

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