By Glenn Peoples
A new study by the Pew/Internet & American Life Project titled “The Internet and Consumer Choice: Online Americans Use Different Search and Purchase Strategies for Different Goods” (main page, 42-page PDF of study) examines how Americans use the Internet to buy music and search for information. It offers great insight into the importance of pre-Internet mass media like TV and radio as well as traditional word of mouth, and it shows how different age groups have different preferences for formats and pre- and post-purchase behaviors.
This study echoes many of the things I have written lately, such as the continued prominence of the CD and the importance of mass media in music discovery. Digital is growing and important part of the music marketplace, but I urge everybody to keep in mind that offline behaviors and purchases still play the dominant role.
Search For Information
• Only 7% of respondents said online information had a major impact on music purchases.
• Of the respondents that made the music purchase online, only 22% said online information had a major impact on the purchase decision.
• 86% of music buyers find out about music through TV, radio or movies.
• 64% of music buyers find out about music through family, friends or co-workers.
• 56% of music buyers find out about music through online tools such as artist websites or streaming samples.
• Only 42% of music buyers said online information helped them save money on the purchase.
• 51% of respondents said online information had no impact whatsoever on their music purchases, 37% said it had a minor impact and 12% said it had a major impact.
• 82% of respondents (69% for people under 35) said they still buy all (62%) or most (20%) of their music in the CD format.
• 15% (27% for people under 35) said half the music they purchased were individual digital files.
• 74% said their most recent purchase was done at a physical store, 22% said it was done online (download or CD).
• Of respondents whose most recent purchase was in a store, 56% of those that bought music recently said they could have made the purchase online while 37% said they could not have.
• Of the 22% whose most recent purchase was online, 61% said it could have been in a store and 35% said it could not have.
• 77% cited offline as the favored means of sharing music with friends and family.
• 57% said online resources introduced them to new artists.
• 68% said it helped them find more information on an artist they were interested in.
• 9% said they mix the music into their own creation.
• Artist or record label website is the most popular online resource (37%) followed by free streaming samples (34%), online stores (34%), downloading music (27%), Internet radio (25%), online music videos (23%), MySpace pages (18%) and emails from artist or label (11%).
• 26% of Internet users who bought music in the last year said online resources led them to buy more music. That number jumps to 40% for people who bought music in the past and did at least one post-purchase activity (such as visit an artist website).
• 90% of people ages 18-35 find out about music through TV, radio and movies. The number drops to 86% for ages 36-50 and to 76% for 51 and over.
• 53% of ages 18-35 find out about music through copies of songs given to them by friends, 33% for ages 36-50 and 23% for 51 and over.
• Younger adults are more likely to do search activities such as visiting an artist website or music store, download a song, reading online commentary or blogs and watching online music videos.
• Younger adults are also more likely to take part in post-purchase activities such as visiting an artist website or social networking page, post music to their social networking pages or post online reviews of the music.
• For ages 18-35, 29% said their most recent music purchase was online versus 18% for those over 35. 70% of 18-35 got their most recent purchase at a physical store versus 75% for those over 35.
• 43% of the 18-35 group said all of their purchases are on CD, versus 65% for the 36-50 group and 77% for those over 50.
• 11% of the 18-35 group said all of their purchases are digital, versus 3% for the 36-50 group and 2% for those over 50.
• 53% of respondents said they had purchased music in the last year
Written by Glenn Peoples for Coolfer
The Hit Music Academy | 2010
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