Where Do Teens Discover New Music? YouTube.

from the promoting-new-artists dept

As YouTube sits in the uncomfortable position of being absolutely loved by the general public, while also being accused by media labels of being an engine for piracy, while also being used by those same labels to try to get free money off the backs of their signed artists, we have long said that it can also serve as an amazing promotional tool to help new artists get discovered. And, as the next generation of music fans move into their teens, one study appears to demonstrate that point.

Via CNN, we learn that the new Nielson Music 360 report has found that YouTube is the primary method for discovering new music amongst teenagers today. While it may not be any great surprise that kids use the free service to find and/or listen to music, I think the report includes a couple of important notes worth elaborating upon. First, take a look at the difference between the generations of music fans:

Among all adults, radio remains the most popular tool, with 48 percent saying that's how they usually discover their new jams. But more teens, 64 percent, cited YouTube, the Web's leading video-sharing site, as a place where they listen to music. Followed by radio (56%), iTunes (53% ) and CDs (50%).

The popularity of YouTube is dramatically higher among teens than all adults. Only 7 percent of all respondents said they discover music most frequently through the site.

Again, probably not the kind of statistics you'd exactly consider jaw-dropping. But let's think about this for a moment. If the jump between those that utilize evil YouTube the most to discover new music (for which they'll potentially buy either music, concert tickets, etc.) is from 7% of the total population and 64% of the teenage population, that indicates to me that the real transition in how we discover new music as an entire population has only just begun. And, if the music labels want to continue to fight against YouTube rather than utilize it, they appear to be ill-prepared for what is a statistical tidal wave that these teenagers will represent when they become paying adults and have children of their own. Failing to embrace YouTube as a promotional tool and fighting against that kind of tsunami is akin to…well…fighting against a friggin' tsunami!

From the CNN article we also learn this:

Strangely, the report doesn't address teens' listening habits on music-streaming sites such as Pandora, Spotify or Grooveshark.

And that's a mistake. If YouTube is the trend for this generation of teenagers, there is a very real likelihood that the next trend is going to be either those music-streaming sites, or others very much like it. That is, of course, if the music labels don't continue to try to kill them as well

But the point remains: people will use new internet services to discover new music. This represents a boon for music as a whole, and could represent the same for the major labels, but only if they stop fighting the tide and instead ride the wave.


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Comments on “Where Do Teens Discover New Music? YouTube.”

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vilain (profile) says:

Certainly is for me

I stumbled across Sam Tsui (recent Yale grad) who’s a “Youtube phenomenon”. He and his music producer led me to other Youtube artists who subscribe to. The video for this summer’s hit CALL ME MAYBE was mentioned by one of the Glee actors. The ending became the plot for quite a few fanfic stories.

The idea that you need a recording contract to get your music out there is, I think, no longer true. Those struggling artists need $$$ to tour and actually give live concerts. Kickstarter, maybe? That’s why I buy covers from them in iTunes–they get more $ from the sale than any commercial album.

Time for the record and movie industry to stop with their rectocranially impacted business model. They’re selling buggy whips and don’t even smell the gasoline.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: If your music is not on Youtube does it really make a sound?

“If 64% of teenagers are exposed to new music via Youtube. This means that those labels and bands that refuse to put their music on Youtube might as well not even exist to one of the largest music buying demographic.”

Not exactly.

The 64% number isn’t that they are exposed to new music EXCLUSIVELY on Youtube. It isn’t 64% of teens only getting new music from Youtube, it’s just that YouTube is one of those sources, and perhaps the most common.

Critical reading goes a long way to understanding things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Radio needs to be deregulated through the removal of govt. established broadcasting monopolies or it needs to be regulated in the public interest. What we have now is regulations in the sole private interests of parasite middlemen and that needs to change. If we are not proactive in our efforts to expand our legal ability to communicate and distribute content amongst ourselves our legal right to do so will gradually be eroded by selfish plutocrats, the same way that our right to communicate and broadcast over broadcasting spectra and cableco infrastructure has been gradually eroded and eventually removed over the years and the same way that the legal right of restaurants and other venues to affordably host independent performers (playing independent music) without paying a parasite middlemen a fee has been eroded and removed over the years (and the same way it has become legally prohibitively expensive for bakeries to allow children to draw custom cartoon characters on their birthday cakes because they may draw an infringing cartoon character of SpongeBob). The only content available to us will be proprietary, at monopoly prices, with never ending copy protection expiration dates, which is exactly what has been accomplished outside of the Internet (and it is the competition that the Internet provides that lowers our current prices, remember years ago the price of a CD with two good songs that you wanted could easily cost $30). We must not only resist legal attempts to restrict the Internet in the sole interests of private corporations, we must proactively seek to remove existing laws that act in the sole interests of others against the public interest.

SujaOfJauhnral (profile) says:

Strangely, the report doesn’t address teens’ listening habits on music-streaming sites such as Pandora, Spotify or Grooveshark.

I’ve tried all 3. I found a much better selection of music on YouTube. For starters, YouTube will actually have the full songs not 30 second previews, I don’t even need to register either, just grab YouTube ‘Downloader’ begin my search and go to town.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re:

I’ve found Pandora good for discovering new music in a genre you’re not familiar with. If you know the genre or pick an artist that is similar to other artists you also know, you’re not going to be surprised or introduced to new music. It’ll just be a parade of familiar songs and bands. This happens whenever I play any alternative rock band or song from the 90’s.

Grooveshark is decent if you’re tired of Pandora not actually playing the song you type in. It’s mainly good if you already know what you’re looking for.

I’ve also used YouTube to find new music in particular genres or similar to particular artists or songs. It’s good for that, but it’s also easy to get distracted on a tangent because of the “related” but off-topic videos YouTube will recommend.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

While Pandora was still free around the world, I simply loved it – discovered quite a few artists I didn’t know, even in “my” genres. I really hope that it will become usable worldwide once again… as I am outside the states.

I’d also be willing to pay for it. But even that doesn’t appear to help… darn licensing restrictions!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You can turn that off if you wish.

Actually, I have the exact opposite problem. I *want* to share what I’m listening to with people on Facebook, but most of my listening takes place at work, which is in a different country to my home address and thus account country. The **AAs have apparently put restrictions so that although I can listen to the music, it can’t be shared on facebook while not in my home country. What idiocy!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I’ve tried all 3. I found a much better selection of music on YouTube.”

Yep, and again that’s the labels being idiots. Spotify, for example, aren’t allowed to carry music from the likes of Tool and Pink Floyd. The “pirates” on YouTube can let me listen to any of their songs.

“For starters, YouTube will actually have the full songs not 30 second previews”

Erm, which of those services only plays 30 second previews?

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Anecdotal evidence

I have a teenage daughter so I can for this. All Youtube, all the time. Of course, like many teenagers, she only “discovers” about the same eight tracks every hour.

After about three hours or so, I have the powerful urge to grab her by the ears and mousehand and shout, “For the love of Summerisle, this thing is full of music! There’s like 72 hours of it uploaded every second! If I wanted to hear an absurdly overdone approximation of Top 40 radio, I’d go down to basement and dig through all the stuff under the stairwell, grab my dusty cd boombox and try in vain to capture a reliable signal out here, miles from civilization!”

And then I’d throw this dusty box right the fuck out the window and point again to the Internet being so badly misused and yell, “22 million songs at your fingertips and I’m hearing Flo Rida for the 5th time in the last two hours???”

To counteract this extreme act of “old-manism,” I usually wander out to the porch and throw outdated gang signs at passing ruffians to warn them away from the property boundaries.

Sam (profile) says:

I don’t find all that much music on YouTube – just the occasional thing that’s used as a soundtrack or something and I think “oh hey, that’s pretty cool” – but when stuff’s recommended to me by a friend or a review site I read, the first thing I do is head over to YouTube and have a listen. If it’s not on YouTube, chances are fairly high that’s about as far as my search goes and I’m certainly not going to buy any of their music.
(The exception is if they have a Bandcamp and I’m linked that, ‘cos Bandcamp is awesome, and I’d love to see more bands using it.)

For demographic purposes, I’m early 20s.

Overcast (profile) says:

As it’s pretty much always been for the recording industry – people hear music for ‘free’ – you know, like.. on the radio – and then, if it’s worth it, they buy it.

Some of them do – some are content to just copy it from the radio on Cassette and some dub a copy from a friend, and others like to buy the original – if it’s good enough. Lackluster music, well – isn’t worth buying, but that varies according to personal taste.

And heck – who needs Torrent? You can copy music from Satellite Radio, YouTube, or wherever now. But again, I prefer physical media myself. I rip – and put the CD up, I’d say 80% of my CD’s have only been in a CD drive once or twice..

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

First off, you don’t go to the library to look for music. You go to the library website, where you can search the whole library system, and have what you want delivered to your nearest branch to pick up. It’s quite a beautiful system.

And the three library systems in my town tend to have all the latest music – maybe not exactly what I want, but I’m open to lots of things and even more importantly – trying out new stuff. You should check it out. You might be surprised.

Not to mention I’m into classical music, which probably never would have happened without the library.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Thanks. I had no idea libraries have changed in such a way. It was in the late 90’s last I visited a library. However after trying a few quick searches I think the library is a much more suitable place for your musical tastes than mine. They still don’t seem to cater to my tastes.

Anonymous Coward says:

” people will use new internet services to discover new music.”

You are going a long way to try to prove a point. YouTube is a good place to discover new music in the same way it’s a good place to discover the meme of the week.

It’s not magic, it’s not new. The issue here is that Youtube attracts a big crowd for what it has, not for what is new. What is new is the bonus that some people may look at.

It’s the reason why “new music only” sites tend to struggle, because they don’t have the bait to lure people in. Remember, YouTube made it’s bones with TV shows and other things before they got busy on blocking out that stuff. It’s the nature of the game.

People go to the stuff they like, and if they happen to hear or see something new they like, then away they go. But people aren’t going to YouTube ONLY for new stuff, it’s not the way it generally works.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Youtube has made it over the hump, where it no longer requires something high end attached to it to get people to come to see. People have learned that there are different things out there. These days, what drives YouTube is in part the viral video, but also in part the thought that you can find almost anything on there. Most of it isn’t really approved by the rights holder, but the rights holder isn’t complaining about it for now.

People don’t just show up for the new stuff alone. They come for the stuff they know, and then they MIGHT find something new. It’s always been the same, people listen to radio for the music they like, and over time, new songs are added to the rotation and they become the songs they like too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That doesn’t answer the question. You alleged that old, popular content that is now being blocked is the only reason why anyone would visit Youtube to begin with before they move onto new stuff; ergo, the point made the article is useless.

Are you effectively saying that “viral videos” are more popular than blocked content?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“That doesn’t answer the question. You alleged that old, popular content that is now being blocked is the only reason why anyone would visit Youtube to begin with before they move onto new stuff; ergo, the point made the article is useless.

Umm, in music, most stuff isn’t blocked – it’s available through approved sources (aka Vevo).

The blocked stuff I was talking about was full episode TV, movies, and the like – which is pretty much all blocked off these days. That was how YouTube got popular to start with.

History is important, you can learn from it!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

So it’s how YouTube got popular to start with. Now it’s no longer available for YouTube to get more popular. So how is it that YouTube is getting new fans who can’t get access to the stuff that made YouTube popular? You’re not saying that viral videos – which YouTube detractors insist are dregs of culture – are more popular than currently blocked content, are you?

screwewe2 (profile) says:

I’ve discovered a lot of new music (to me) over the years on the “Music Choice” channels on cable TV, and back in the Napster and WinMX day’s looking at other peers shared music folders. In the late 50’s I was turned on to new artists through American Bandstand, AM radio in the 60’s, FM radio in the 70’s, and MTV in the 80’s and early 90’s (when it was still a Music Channel). Today I find good new music via torrents.

Kevin (profile) says:

Ever changing

In the pre-record days when sheet music was the main source piano players were hired by stores to play a sample of the sheet music.
Radio began by broadcasting live music and later recorded music.
Record stores provided listening booths so potential listeners could sample the music before they bought. There was no obligation to buy the record played.
Up till now the main method of discovering music was by listening. Radio remained the dominate listening method for decades
TV came along and all of a sudden we could watch the artist sing his/her songs and shows such as Bandstand started having an influence of record sales. This developed extensively when the music video hit the TV screens and slowly became the teens main source of music discovery.
YouTube is just an extension of the TV video and for the new generation viewing was the normal mode for discovering music.
Traditional radio demographics started to change with talk radio increasingly dominating the surveys world wide. This has been exasperated by the thousands of Internet radio stations that generally cater for one or two genres and of course YouTube or similar.

The survey is badly flawed and most of the high numbers for teens buying music is inflated. No one bothered to ask the record stores. They will tell you the majority of there customers are over 30, or the pre YouTube generation. They will tell you that re-issued music is outselling new music.
The teen buyers are more likely to be female and are more likely to be interested in Music Videos. Male teens tend to spend their entertainment money on computer games.
The move of music discovery for teens has shifted from listening to viewing.
So the whole game has changed yet the entire music industry is totally blind to the changes.
The entire subject would make for an interesting book.

Anonymous Coward says:

Apples and Oranges

I’m not disagreeing with the general thrust of the article, but I do think that the statistics are being misinterpreted. The 7% and 64% numbers are totally different things, and not directly comparable.

“7 percent of all respondents said they discover music MOST FREQUENTLY through the site.”

“64 percent [of teens] , cited YouTube […] as A PLACE where they listen to music.”

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm 36 and youtube is a real boon for me, ...

since none of the things I listen to are ever heard on traditional radio or on music TV channels, not even in the small hours of the night.

If youtube (and it’s clones) stop to exist I’d be forced to listen to some underground internet radio. Or bugger everyone at EBM/gothic/industrial parties to ask the name & title of the current track if I happen to like it. But that would make the search a rather passive affair, and if there’s a song I don’t like I’d have to hear it thru before instead of clicking on one of the related vids or the next track of the playlist. Btw i never buy music if it’s ever been on the radio (no it’s not hipster mentality) i reason that if you throw away90% of yer profits to parasitic middlemen who merely push yer stuf to radio stations, you don’t need my money to continue making cookie cutter music.

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