Nielsen's 2014 SXSW Presentation: The Insights Evolution
March 13, 2014

Nielsen’s 2014 SXSW presentation, “The Insights Evolution: Why Only Obesessing About Sales Is Holding You Back,” focuses on the benefits of building awareness through web/social activity; driving discovery through radio and streaming; and maximizing sales through radio and TV for new song releases in today’s digital world.

“Digital consumption has reached the masses, with a majority of consumers in the U.S. streaming music last year,” says David Bakula, SVP Client Development & Industry Insights, Nielsen Entertainment. “The change in consumption requires us to continually evolve how we measure and define success.

The following is a sampling of insights associated with today’s presentation showing how consumers are accessing content in new ways:
- In 2013, 68% of U.S. consumers streamed music (includes YouTube music videos)
- Music listening via streaming services increased 40% from 2012 to 2013.
- Consumers who streamed music via paid streaming services rose from 4.2% to 4.9%
- Consumers who streamed music via free streaming services rose from 26.8% to 38.6%
- Music on mobile devices is almost as ubiquitous as the car radio.
- 56% of respondents listened to music on the car radio in a typical week; 53% listened to music on their mobile devices during the same period
-67% of respondents listened to music on the car radio within a 12-month period; 69% listened to music on mobile devices during the same period; 72% listened to music on their desktop or laptop computer during the same period

Nielsen looked at the lifecycles of a sampling of the top songs in terms of commercial success (by sales, On-Demand streams and airplay) in 2013 and analyzed a trended view of sales, radio audience, on-demand streams, and web/social activity for those artists, leading to the following conclusions:
- In many cases, web/social activity before the release of a song drives awareness, contributing to first-week sales and consumer activity.
- Radio can be a vital driver of On-Demand streaming and sales.
- The first 8 to 12 weeks of a new release can present the best opportunity for TV and other exposure.
- Around week 12, consumption typically reaches its peak.
- After 12 weeks, artists should look for crossover opportunities to engage new audiences as consumption starts to decline.
- In the long term, streaming presents the opportunity to lengthen monetization opportunities.

“Understanding how touch-points work both independently and interdependently in driving commercial success for artists is the cornerstone of commercial growth for the industry. The journey may be unique for different songs, artists and genres, but maximizing consumer engagement across various channels from pre-release through to commercial peak in week 12 is the common denominator,” added Julanne Schiffer, SVP Insights and Analytics, Nielsen.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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