A new study published last week by Music Watch, Inc. offers surprising clues as to how exactly music streamers listen to their music. Based on 500 online interviews with Spotify and Apple Music users (sorry, those who prefer Tidal) who “participate in listening to or creating playlists,” the study found, unsurprisingly, that 90 percent of music streamers listened to or created their own playlists.
Apparently, premium subscribers are the most active playlist listeners, with 8 in 10 users “listening to their service every day” and about half listening to a playlist every time that they use Spotify or Apple Music. Apparently, those who have listened to their preferred service’s playlist, 90 percent of them created their very own playlist in the past three months.
So, what kind of playlists, then, are music streamers listening to? Easy. Genre-based playlists were the most popular in the survey, with 68% of respondents having listened to playlists based on this format. What’s next? Simple. “Best of the Year” or others like “Top 40” or “Top 50” playlists were equally tied with “mood-based playlists” with 50 percent.
If genre-based playlists are on top, how often, then, do music streamers listen to them? Apparently, 24% listened to a genre-based playlist “each time they used a music-streaming service.” What exactly is important when listening to or creating your own playlist? Genre and familiarity, with music discovery not even being close on this list.
How about the content Apple Music and Spotify has to offer? Two-thirds listen to the selections of current-hits (“Today’s Hits” for Spotify and “Today’s Top Hits” on Apple Music) and about a solid 44% listen to “Discovery Weekly” on Spotify or “Discovery Mix” on Apple Music. However, Apple Music users tend to listen more to today’s hits than Spotify users, around 29% to 22%, and again, 21% listen to the Discovery Mix compared to Spotify’s 15% for Discovery Weekly.
So with the rise of music streaming services and even more so for playlists, does this mean the end for your standard AM/FM radio? Here’s where things truly get interesting: Not even close: 80% of music streamers also listen to music on AM/FM radio.
The actual article about this study ends with a rather poignant statement by Russ Crupnick, managing partner of MusicWatch.
“We set out to understand what’s really important to listeners, and it’s the essence of the song and the artist that wins, in the end. There’s debate about human versus machine curation, about celebrity personalization, and about music sharing on social platforms, but ultimately listeners are really most concerned about whether a playlist provides song that they like and offers a touch of music discovery, too.”
You can see some more interesting tidbits in the MusicWatch infographic below.
iTunes Playlist image by Andrew Wong, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).