How digital audio listeners discover, share and purchase music


Unveiled at Advertising Week in NYC, TargetSpot, the largest digital audio advertising network, showed results surrounding the role of digital audio listening in music discovery. The data from “Digital Audio Usage Trends: A Highly Engaged Listenership,” conducted by Parks Associates, reveals the behavior of digital audio listeners in discovering new music, giving and receiving musical recommendations, and music purchasing is increasingly social.

Of course, listeners have always shared opinions about music — making music the original social network. Digital media has simply facilitated this behavior, building communities of music lovers that span across devices, time zones and social vehicles. The research shows that the digital pursuit of music is a simultaneously personal and shared endeavor. On their own, 57% of digital audio listeners search for new music and 52% search for artist or band information. However, they also actively share and seek opinions. 42% rate songs, 38% recommend a station, artist/band or song and 29% link their music profile to social networks.

Digital audio listeners are very interested in recommendations from others. More than a third review station recommendation lists, 33% review music charts, 32% look at what others are listening to and 29% join music-related forums.

TargetSpot’s research reveals the ascendance of Internet Radio as a key channel for discovery, with nearly 40% of listeners discovering music on Internet Radio stations, just behind discovery via a Broadcast AM/FM station (47%), and ahead of TV (27%). In terms of social sources of influence, the research shows that discovery hinges on recommendations from friends and colleagues (25%), followed by music charts (19%), playlists (15%) and top rated songs on Internet Radio websites (11%).

The research shows that among digital audio listeners who have purchased music, nearly 70% did so after hearing the song or album on an Internet Radio station and 65% of these listeners said that the Internet Radio website made it easier for them to purchase music. The research also showed that 32% of digital audio listeners overall buy an individual song and 22% purchase an entire album.

Digital Audio: An Ideal Vehicle for Advertisers

89 million consumers listen to digital audio monthly, according to Arbitron/Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2011: Navigating Digital Platforms. They listen for multiple hours a day, change stations frequently to stay connected to their listening experience and often look at the player to check the name of a song or artist. Despite the many options available for digital audio content, 88% of listeners tune in via free, ad-supported services and nearly 30% of listeners click on ads.

“The sheer mass of this audience and their deep engagement level in both the content and the advertising makes digital audio an ideal vehicle for advertisers,” said Eyal Goldwerger, TargetSpot CEO. “Digital audio is a powerful channel for advertisers to include in their marketing plans.”

RBR-TVBR observation: What really stood out here was 40% of listeners are discovering music on Internet Radio stations, just behind discovery via a Broadcast AM/FM station (47%). At first that may seem shocking, but many of TargetSpot’s clients are radio groups, like Entercom and CBS Radio. Part of that 40% is from listening to terrestrial radio streams. Nonetheless, sites like Pandora, Jango and now iHeartRadio with music discovery functionality are pushing new music to digital audio listeners much more effectively than traditional radio, given that terrestrial radio still accounts for many more overall listeners.