Report: Facebook Plays a Relatively Minor Role In Music Discovery

The industry’s addiction with likes, friends, and followers is reaching junkie status.

So maybe this is a step towards recovery.  Or, at least a little more balance: according to a new finding from NPD Group, social media’s role in music discovery is actually minor compared to other formats.  In fact, far stodgier platforms like AM/FM radio, TV, and simple person-to-person recommendations tower in importance over crafty Facebook campaigns.

Check out this breakdown from NPD Group researcher Russ Crupnick, who decided to ask music fans a fairly simple question:

“How did you first hear about (whatever song) you wanted to hear again?”

These were ‘highly-engaged music fans,’ not disconnected, casual listeners.  Yet Crupnick still found that old-school radio played a stunningly disproportionate role in discovery.

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Crupnick was far from dismissive of social networking platforms, but noted that this space is ‘a little bit overhyped’.  But could it be that Facebook is actually wildly overhyped, totally overblown, and not as effective as we thought?  Over in concert-land, Digital Music News recently found entrants like Songkick having little impact on concert attendance, despite creating more awareness than ever before.

But wait! Critics blasted that report, saying it’s just too early to judge – and there are significant lag-times at work.  Perhaps inside the bubble, Facebook-connected apps and alerts are in full swing, but in reality, there’s still an upward curve.  Which is why when Crupnick asked these same consumers what it would take to get them to buy more music, many said ‘more Facebook alerts‘!


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(actually, the right side of this graph goes on with even more reasons, which you can see here).


27 Responses

  1. tippysdemise

    the vast majority of listeners like popular songs.

    one hears popular songs on traditional radio.

  2. @tomssatchwell

    Facebook actually has relatively little impact on new music discovery, but is it too soon to judge?

    • joe


      ditto for facebook and all the other “meaningless” friends.

      won’t you be my friend?

  3. @torchlightpromotions

    Don’t underestimate the power of radio – it’s how most people still discover new music

  4. ninerox

    curious……..did tv commercials play any measurable role?

  5. Tom Hitt

    Nose… Grindstone… as it was, so it shall ever be.

  6. @llornkcor

    Wow, people still listen to the radio?!?

  7. @phonobase

    I told you, dear readers. The illusions of social media…

  8. Visitor

    Would reverse psychology work then? Dont go like Vienna or ARIZONA on facebook!

  9. claesolson

    Important Q (at least for a swede) ;o)

    Was the research done in UK, US or where? And what age group?

  10. @forcemm

    Once again, radio is still the top place people discover new music.

  11. @tomredfern

    Facebook. Not as important as you thought you were…

  12. David

    Presumably Facebook plays a fairly large part in the ‘Friend played/sent/gave’ category though…

  13. Visitor

    No music discovery on Satellite Radio? Hard to believe considering there are 23 million subscribers.

  14. @KSJDRadio

    Radio rules when it comes to discovering new music. Especially at KSJD, where our DJs are the best!

  15. @ONErpm

    Pretty revealing stat sheet about music disovery these days…

    FM Radio still destroys every medium by a large margin.

  16. @paulgreenberg

    Wow – traditional radio still drives the most discovery of new songs by more than 2x anything else.

  17. Julio Muniz

    No surprise here, most peope want to be entertained, don’t want to discover anything new, they expect somebody else to tell them what they should listen to.

  18. Just A Fan

    That survey is about Katy Perry and lady GaGa. There is no data regarding all the good music that is NOT being discovered because broadcast radio wont touch it. The data is self-referencing in that sense, but it does tell you that people are just fine with curated music and they dont need 10,000 songs in the cloud so they can hit the ‘skip’ button every 3 seconds

  19. Old Man's Balls

    If something is on the radio it is probably not something I want to hear.

  20. Define Social Media...

    Curious on how friends played, sent, gave them new music? Could it be via email, IM, facebook, twitter, text messaging?

    Youtube should be considered a social media site too. You have followers & subscribers.

    Re Radio do we know how/where people are listening to traditional radio: in their car or at home with a regular radio or via the internet with a smart phone/tablet/computer? Traditonal radio also streams live online.

  21. @indmusicnews

    This is a good read for bands and musicians!