60 MINUTES/Vanity Fair Music Poll: Americans Still Listen To The Radio
April 7, 2014

Americans would rather take their daughters to see Taylor Swift than Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. Many agree this decade has the worst music in the 45 years since Woodstock. Baby Boomers would prefer their children study The Beatles than Mozart. And 49 percent say they still listen to the radio. That’s what Americans are saying in the 60 MINUTES/Vanity Fair music poll, the results of which can be found in the May issue of Vanity Fair, or at 60Minutes.com or VF.com.

If forced to, Americans are more likely to choose Taylor Swift as the artist whose concert they’d most like to see with their daughters from a list of five artists popular among teenaged girls. Thirty-nine  percent pick Swift, ahead of Katy Perry (26 percent) and the pop boy band One Direction (11 percent). Last on the list are two performers who have recently taken on a less squeaky-clean image than they had when they first began. Just 5 percent pick Disney-darling-turned-twerker Miley Cyrus, and just 3 percent pick Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, who has been arrested twice in recent months for various legal offenses.

Which decade had the worst music in 45 years? Americans think it has never been worse than this decade, even with just four years to choose from. 42 percent say “this decade” has the worst music, far ahead of (or behind) the 2000s (15 percent), the 1990s (13 percent), the 1980s (14 percent), or the 1970s (12 percent). Nor is it simply a matter of nostalgia for older Americans: those under 30 are also most likely to think that this decade, at least so far, has had the worst music since 1970.

If they could have their child study the music of just one artist, Americans are divided between classical and rock. 33 percent say they would pick the Beatles as the one artist they would have their child study, while nearly as many—32 percent—choose composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  These are the top two choices from a list that also includes Michael Jackson (14 percent), Billie Holiday (9 percent), and Jay Z (5 percent).  Baby Boomers, those ages 45 to 64, pick The Beatles (40%) over Mozart (27%).

Even with all the new ways one can listen to music, it’s the radio that Americans turn to the most. Forty-nine percent of Americans say they listen to music most often on the radio, more than every other method combined. A distant second choice are digital music services like Spotify, Pandora, or Last.fm (17 percent), which in turn are more listened to than iPhones, iPods, or other mp3 players (15 percent). CDs are now picked by just 9 percent of Americans as the way they listen to music the most. 6% most often listen to mp3s on their computer, while just 1 percent of Americans most often listen to music on those spiral-grooved, rotating disks that produce analogue sound—vinyl records. Radio is king now, but change may be afoot. While older Americans listen to radio most often, it comes in only third among Americans under the age of 35 (24 percent). Instead, the top choice among Americans aged 18-34 is some form of digital music service (35 percent) followed by iPhones, iPods, and mp3 players (29 percent).

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Manny Simon
VP/Adult Formats,
Republic Records

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