We’ve had years of chatter about the extent to which streaming is cannibalising sales of downloads and CDs now.
However, British music bodies the BPI and ERA have come out with a report suggesting another trend entirely: music-streaming as something that can stimulate physical music sales rather than simply replacing them.
Their new report claims that two thirds of music fans now consider themselves to be “multi-channellers”, discovering songs and artists on streaming services but then buying their favourites. The report is based on an online survey of 1,000 British music fans by AudienceNet in November, chosen as a broadly representative sample of the UK population.
Among its findings: 49% of respondents said they use a free streaming service but also buy CDs; 44% use a free streaming service but also buy downloads; 17% pay for streaming and CDs; and 18% pay for streaming and downloads.
Overall, 66% said they were multi-channellers in some form. Among 16-45 year-olds, 63% said they combine a free streaming service with paid downloads.
One thing that’s missing: how much these people are spending on CDs, downloads and vinyl (which was also included in the survey) and how that’s been affected by their adoption of streaming.
But digging in to the research, there are some other findings of note too. For example, of those who pay for a streaming service, 42% said they had used the full version on a trial period and liked it enough to upgrade; 29% were on the free version but wanted to remove ads; and 27% wanted to use it on their mobile device.
AudienceNet also asked what devices people were using to listen to music, and found some generational differences. CD players remain the most popular device overall, used by 56% of respondents ahead of laptops (50%), mobiles or smartphones (47%) and FM/AM radio receivers (47%).
However, among 16-24 year-olds, 76% are using mobiles or smartphones, 63% laptops, 39% FM/AM radio receivers and only 26% CD players. In fact, more of this age group – 30% – are using Sonos-style Bluetooth or Wi-Fi speaker systems.