Digital Music

Fans Favor Experiences Over Downloads

1 (1)A new Nielsen Music 360 report is out revealing, perhaps not unsurprisingly, that fans would rather spend their hard earned cash on live music experiences than digital downloads, as well as several other revealing numbers regarding consumer habits.


Guest post by Taylor Mims from Amplify

Fans are more willing to spend more money on live music than digital downloads, according to a recent Nielsen Music 360 report.

The annual Nielsen Music 360 report is a comprehensive, in-depth study of consumer interaction with music in the United States. The study found that a majority of respondents spend their share of money on live events. The total population spends a combined 44% on concerts and festivals with an additional 8% on DJ events. The study found that 59% of those surveyed said they went to a concert with one main headliner in the last 12 months, 40% attended one with multiple headliners and 33% went to a festival.

Nielsen surveys the music habits of Americans, from how much music they consume to how they consume it. The 2016 study was taken by over 3,500 consumers, 80% of which are now using some form of online music service. That is 5% more than last year’s 75%.

Since it is an election year, Nielsen also examined music habits based on political affiliation. Turns out Democrats are more likely to attend live music events, especially at smaller venues and spend heavily on digital music. Republicans are more likely to spend their money on cable tv and comedy and sporting events. Independents appear to be big fans of streaming.


The report says that Americans mostly absorb music through radio with 27% of their music consumption coming through the terrestrial broadcasts. Streaming, however, passes all others (radio, digital, and physical) if you include on-demand, programmed audio, and streaming video and live radio. Despite the large consumption of streaming music, listeners only spend 6% of their music moolah on paid services.


Listeners are also twice as likely to listen to their digital collections than their physical ones, but spend a bit more on the physical music.


This year the report conducted special focuses on teens, millennials and Hispanics. The report highlights that Hispanics outspend the general population on music by a significant 90%. For Hispanics, music takes up roughly 16% of their overall entertainment spending which is 10% more than the remainder of the population. A healthy 44% of that spending is dedicated to just concerts and festivals, with an additional 17% going to DJ events and another 8% for smaller sessions.

Data for this study was collected July 14 -August 5 among 3,554 consumers reflective of the population of the United States. Additional responses were collected for ages 13-34 and for Hispanics. Data was weighted to the US census population based on age, gender, race, education and house hold size. 

See additional highlights from the report here.

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