The results are in for the Innerspace Labs Music Discovery Survey! A huge thank-you to all who offered their input.
I created the survey out of a personal curiosity. Sadly, I have very little contact with the general public outside of the few members of my digital publishing team at the office, and I wanted to know what impact the web has had on the ways listeners discover new sounds.
I suspected listeners utilized multiple media resources in their musical explorations and that certainly proved to be the case. Contributors cited an average of 6.44 sources for new music data. The majority of the music sources I offered as options for the survey were widely-used, save for rateyourmusic.com, music subreddits, Gnoosic, and Usenet groups which each accounted for fewer than 3% of users’ musical resources. I found this particularly interesting as I visit RYM frequently as my primary ratings and review aggregator and find its information invaluable when researching artists and genres.
As expected, Youtube ranked as users’ most-used resource when sampling new sounds. I was surprised, however, to find that radio, motion pictures, television, or other forms of mass media were the third-highest ranked information resource, right behind user’s own friends. While I only see ~3 new films annually, and have no exposure to television or radio, it still appears that mass media is still a significant part of most people’s lives.
Spotify and other streaming services were the next-highest ranked source, accounting for 10% of listeners’ discoveries. While they are not a viable source for non-commercial or analog-only recordings, they still offer an incredible convenience for quick-and-easy personalized radio stations and there is no shortage of articles proclaiming streaming the new standard for mass media.
Crate digging was another significant source, as were vinyl Facebook communities and private music forums. I’m curious whether this is representative of the public at large or just for Innerspace readers, but it is exciting nonetheless.
I was similarly please by the results for music lit and other periodicals, which accounted for more than 5% of musical discovery. While 5% doesn’t sound significant on the surface, bear in mind that users cited an average of 6-7 sources for new music, so I’m considering 5% a threshold for this survey.
Other sources of note are independent music blogs and local music performances, both of which were a delight to see still holding their own in the survey. After attending the latest concert at my local university, I will certainly be visiting their music library for further research into works by their professors.
I’m also curious to see if torrenting will grow in popularity for general music research in the years ahead. Personally, torrenting is a critical step in my music purchasing process. I’ve yet to find a better system, whether for surveying the catalog of an artist or to compare various masters before investing my hard-earned cash.
I consider the survey a success as its certainly given me a better understanding of how users find new music. Thanks once again to everyone who contributed!