Music Ownership Incredibly Unimportant to 15-19 Year Olds, Study Finds…

Music Ownership Study

In case you were wondering about the future of music downloads…

According to market research company Loop, 15-19 year olds in the US overwhelmingly prefer to listen to music through on-demand streaming services. That includes YouTube as a predominant source, with Pandora, Spotify, and other streaming services also on the list. By start contrast, formats involving ownership of content, including downloads, are plummeting in importance.

The research was published with the Music Business Association and claims that for this age group, on-demand streaming accounts for 51% of daily listening. The rest is made up of downloads/files (20%), AM/FM radio (12%), and internet radio (9%).

Overall, roughly three-fourths of all daily listening involves streaming of some variety, with no ownership involved.

That said, vinyl remains a tiny exception, with less than 5% of teenagers polled expressing preference for tangible vinyl collections.  That’s slightly higher than the rest of the population, and that could be an interesting trend to watch.

When compared to the overall population the consumption of music through on-demand streaming services for 15-19 years olds is significantly higher. The overall population spends just 24% of their daily music listening through on-demand streaming.

To clarify, within on-demand steaming, Loop not only included paid streaming services like Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify premium, but free services like Spotify’s ad-supported tier, YouTube and other similar platforms.


When asked what music services they used in the last week, 71% of the 15-19 years olds said YouTube, 44% said Spotify, 38% said Pandora, 20% said Apple Music, and 12% said SoundCloud/SoundCloud Go.

So, who’s actually paying for music?


Of the overall US participants in the survey, 17% said they paid for streaming services. Though,when broken down into age categories, the information got a little more interesting. For 15-19 years olds 21% paid for music streaming services, 29% for 20-24 years olds, and 31% for 25-34 year olds.

17 Responses

  1. Nicky Knight

    Sadly I think it’s true to a large degree.. the Teenage Rampage generation aren’t too bothered about music ..

    Although I am still upbeat about iTunes and Apple Music, I do think today’s 14-26 year olds are probably more interested in mobile smart-phone technology, apps and hanging around shopping malls food courts..

    Disposal income is often targeted for exotic but cheap foreign holidays in the sun..

    • Anonymous

      “the Teenage Rampage generation aren’t too bothered about music “

      Agree — 60 year old Sweet fans have other things on their mindsc.

      Real teenagers, on the other hand, are as obsessed with music as ever.

      Problem is they want the full package — music and videos — so there’s only one place to go:


      Nobody else is even trying. Microsoft could do it in a heartbeat. So could Twitter. Apple.

      But nobody seems to want YouTube’s hundreds of millions of users.

      Absolutely incredible, but true…

  2. Versus


    How would the numbers of payers change – and also the numbers of those who buy music to own – if the Piracy Streaming Service (a.k.a. YouTube) were either brought down or brought in line?

  3. Anonymous

    There’s no need to discuss anything else than YouTube and the need for a YouTube alternative anymore.

    These 71% are not migrating to iTunes or Spotify when they grow up.

    They’re staying where they are, on YouTube — until something better, faster and cooler comes along.

    I still hope Twitter’s going to provide that better, faster, cooler thing, either by buying Tidal or Vimeo, or creating a video service of its own.

    It’s got everything YouTube doesn’t: Speed, style, social/cultural/political relevance and real conversations — as opposed to YouTube’s totally insane comment section. Everybody’s there, including big media, and one tweet can change your life.

    Add a super simple video function and YouTube can go f*** itself.

  4. Versus

    I don’t get it.
    YouTube is a useful platform for music discovery, but a horrible platform for music listening. Unpredictable audio quality, drop-outs, advertisements, no easy way to save playlists, no organization at all, unnecessary overhead, bandwidth usage and screen clutter of loading a video interface when one only wants to listen to music.

    • Versus

      …P.S. And, of course, pathetic or completely non-existent payment to the artists and composers of the music. Any listener who cares about music — that is to say, any listener, or why are they listening to music? – should be very concerned about this, and follow their conscience to find another platform for their music listening, which actually fairly compensates music creators.

    • Anonymous

      “I don’t get it”

      There’s nothing to get. I’ve repeated this again and again for years:

      People — teenagers in particular — don’t want 50% of a song. They want it all: 50% audio + 50% video.

      And why settle for less? We’ve always wanted to see the stars.

      500 years ago, you had to be rich to do that. Today, you just need your phone.

      Video is not the enemy — YouTube is!

      • Anonymous

        (This is a reply to Versus, but I keep getting an error message that “Time limit is exhausted” when I reply to her/his comment, and the CAPTCHA can’t be refreshed…)

        …oh, and as for YouTube advertisements:

        I’ve used YouTube for thousands of hours and I’ve seen less than a dozen ads, all in all.

        YouTube is still in denial, but adblockers are destroying the platform, and fast.

        So YouTube is facing a simple choice:

        Keep ignoring reality and disappear within 5 years, or block adblockers and survive until the next big thing comes along.

  5. Rick Shaw

    This is also an age group that cares little about relationships, will not have plans for their future, isn’t interesting in working, cannot commit to an employer, etc.

  6. Nicky Knight

    YouTube is the thing that really sunk so many sales…

    About video… I disagree with the earlier post.. fancy video clips are a waste because everyone is no longer enthralled with video because we’ve all seen it all before twenty trillion times..for music it’s the audio that matters.. Calvin Harris “This Is What You Came For” had a still image video on YouTube up until very recently and had millions of views.. In fact I don’t even thing brand artists are a sure thing in delivering a hit.. Look at the Moroder/Minogue record, it went nowhere.. I think more than ever it’s about the audio and that old chestnut Radio Airplay . As much as AM FM radio is still stuck in the twentieth century – it’s still necessary in delivering a huge scale hit..

    At least someone picked up on my “Teenage Rampage” tag 🙂

    Talking of Chinn & Chapman, Nicky Chinn is to feature in a special songwriters interview to be released on an upcoming Spotify podcast…

    • Anonymous

      “for music it’s the audio that matters”

      You couldn’t be more wrong — this is just your personal opinion.

      71% of the most important age group — 15-19 year olds — completely disagree with you. And THEIR opinions matter.

      They want the full product: Full audio and full video!

      And that’s what labels and artists want, too: Nobody invests huge amounts of cash in video production (way more than in audio) because they want to stream audio-only files on Spotify.

      • Anonymous Too

        And that’s just one of many statistics. Your opinion is reflected in which statistic you choose to believe.

        From another recent DMN article:
        “In the first six months of 2016, Americans played more than 114 billion audio streams on streaming platforms like, Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. That same group played 95 billion video streams on music video platforms like YouTube.”

        I do agree that the presence of free on demand media services containing a good percentage of the recorded music that has ever existed devalues the concept of ownership. But, if those services go away….. behavior and perspectives will awing the other way.

  7. Nicky Knight

    Of course video costs more because it requires more if you’re doing a production with actors/dancers, costumes, props, makeup, lights, locations, sets, crew and all the other nonsense that goes along with it…

    But having an expensive looking video won’t give you a hit .. ultimately it’s still all about the song/record.. Someone like Drake might be an exception because his songs can sometimes sound like a bedroom demo yet they’re huge sellers.. so the Drake brand is immensely powerful.. but if you don’t have an immensely powerful brand then you’re just hoping that throwing money at something will make it a hit .. and nine times out of ten that doesn’t work..

    If that worked then everything a well healed label put out would be a hit and that’s just not the case..

    Of course you get a shot right out of the blue hits that seem to come out of nowhere and you get the sure bets that sink without a trace…

    Why do you think the top end of town employs Max Martin .. because they realize that the song is (almost) everything…

    Oh yes… at least you noticed that I do indeed have an opinion …

  8. Anom Nom

    Of course if you do have a budget of $Millions then you can have all bases covered just in case you do have a song that could go stratospheric and an artist that 19-24 year olds would go crazy for..

    Nothing is a sure bet .. so the more pieces you have in play then the better..


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