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The IFPI’s Global Music Report makes plenty of springtime headlines with its figures for the recorded music industry.

However, another of its annual reports, Engaging With Music, is just as interesting, based as it is on the largest survey of music listeners (we think: it’s 44,000) about their habits and opinions. The 2022 edition is out today.

Among its key stats: the average fan spends 20.1 hours a week listening to music, up from 18.4 hours in 2021. What’s most interesting is to see some of the countries that over-index heavily on this metric. In India the figure is 25.7 hours a week, for example, while in China it’s 28.3 and in Nigeria it’s 30.4.

Also noteworthy: the claim that “63% of all time spent on short-form video apps are on videos where music plays a central role”. That clearly plays into the current grumblings from IFPI members about TikTok’s licensing deals (but also those of the homegrown TikTok-style apps in India).

But wait. In the 2021 Engaging With Music report, 68% of all time spent on short-video apps was on music-dependent videos, so that figure has fallen by five percentage points.

Meanwhile, this year’s report reveals that short-form video apps now account for 8% of the ‘music engagement mix’ (defined here as weekly music engagement. This is down too, from 11% in last year’s report.

In other words you could argue against expectations that in 2022 music is actually less important to short-video apps, and that short-video is less important (in engagement terms) to music. At least based on these figures, which like all consumer research come with margins of error.

The comparison between 2022 and 2021’s music engagement mix charts is worth thinking about though. The share taken by longer-form video streaming services (i.e. YouTube) has also fallen: from 22% last year to 19% now.

Why the declines? A small part of this story is a post-lockdown increase for live’s share of music engagement: doubling from 2% in 2021 to 4% in 2022.

There are also small rises for radio music listening (up from 16% to 17%); listening to purchased music (9% to 10%); social media platforms (3% to 5%); and subscription audio streaming (23% to 24%).

Another important talking point: both reports include a chart of the top five countries ranked as the “most engaged with paid subscription” music in the last month.

The top-ranked countries for music engagement (2021 on left, 2022 on right)

Sweden comes top with 56%, but that is down from 62% last year. 2021’s top-ranked country Mexico has seen its percentage of listening time for paid subscription services fall from 67% to 50%.

See also the IFPI’s research on “the use of subscription audio streaming” broken down by age group. Last year, it stood at 60% for 16-24 year-olds, but that has fallen to 54% in 2022. The percentages are also down for 25-34 year-olds (61% to 56%) and 35-44 year-olds (49% to 44%).

The breakdown of paid subscription engagement by age group (2021 top, 2022 below)

There are plenty of positives in the 2022 Engaging With Music report, but it’s going to be very important to keep an eye on these trends around engagement with paid subscriptions, given that a cost-of-living crisis is biting in a growing number of countries as we go into 2023.

Update: We followed up with the IFPI, and a spokesperson told Music Ally that another factor in the year-on-year drops may be better accounting for use of YouTube Music, with survey questions designed to avoid misunderstandings over whether people were using YouTube Music’s free or paid services.

The spokesperson also pointed out that listening time through paid subscriptions has grown by 10% year-on-year.

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