A new study from The NPD Group and NARM finds that terrestrial radio is still the top source of new music discovery for consumers. Over 80 percent of respondents were interested in learning about new music from artists they were already fans of. AM/FM radio was named the most important tool for discovering new music, with 60 percent of musically active consumers citing it as their top influence. However, most of these radio fans noted they would wait to hear a new song again rather than purchase the track right away. Also, three out of four cited a lack of backselling by DJs, saying they would probably buy more new music if there were more announcements of artist names and song titles.
Television was ranked second, thanks to awards shows, music videos, reality competitions such as American Idol or The X-Factor and daytime TV appearances. The survey found that Internet music discovery options were much more fragmented. Shazam and other song-identifying apps, as well as other mobile/tablet apps, are most likely to lead to paying for a CD or digital download. Free online radio and video sites like YouTube and VEVO are more likely to cause listeners to continue to stream songs, rather than buy them.
"Another leading way all consumer groups discovered music were recommendations from family, friends, and co-workers," said NARM President Jim Donio. "This study was completed before the announcement of Facebook's music initiative, and we look forward to seeing how the more complete integration of music and social media will change consumer habits. Music discovery drives the success of the entire music-retail industry, and this intelligence about consumer behavior is critical, as we work to find the right combinations of options to help people find new music and make it a part of their lives."
Donio added, "Now that we have these insights, the music industry can look at how to deliver to consumers the information they want about new music. We have identified several areas where we believe we can move the needle and convert that discovery to a retail experience of some kind. For example, people hear music they like, but because of lack of identification, they don't learn the artist's name or the song title, so they cannot seek out that track again - more promotion of song recognition apps and stressing the importance of back announcing could go a long way to improve that situation."
"As technology and music distribution has evolved, it's fascinating how diverse the music fan base has adapted since the last time we conducted this study," said Russ Crupnick, SVP of The NPD Group. "On one hand you have fans who can't find enough ways to learn about new music, whether it's at retail, through apps and social networks, or on radio and TV. On the other hand there is still a large core group who learns by listening to AM/FM radio and on family shopping trips. Regardless of the type of music fan, there are actions the industry can take to improve the discovery process, and help drive revenue."