Life Is But A Stream
- July 13th, 2009
- 3 Comments
Coincidentally, I’m listening to Pandora as I write this post. According to new research coming out from the UK teens ages 14 to 18 are downloading less illegal music and streaming more. From the Guardian article:
The survey of 1,000 fans also shows that many 14 to 18 year olds are now streaming music regularly online using services such as YouTube and Spotify.
At the same time less than a third of teenagers are now illegally downloading music, the survey suggests. In January this year 26% of 14 to 18 year olds admitted filesharing at least once a month compared with 42% in December 2007.
The research revealed that many teenagers (65%) are streaming music regularly, with more 14 to 18 year olds (31%) listening to streamed music on their computer every day compared with music fans overall (18%).
This backs up the recent NPD report that also talked about an increase in teens streaming music. While I don’t think teens are using Pandora specifically (which is more popular with twentysomethings on up), it’s interesting to speculate on why there has been the shift from downloading to streaming.
Instant gratification with little risk
Just as it’s easier and faster to watch shows on Hulu without downloading them illegally, it’s less risky and faster to just stream music while you surf. Not to mention that it takes up less space/bandwidth on your computer or MP3 player.
More teen PDA adoption and mobile streaming apps
As more teens get iPhones, iPod Touches or other PDAs with internet access, streaming music on the go has gotten a lot easier to do.
Try before you buy (or “rip”)
Internet radio or streaming services are a great way to learn about new music, especially those that have a social media aspect to them like Imeem or Last FM. While teens’ real-life friends are still their primary source for music recommendations, I can see teen music fans being open to trying new music being suggested based on their existing tastes/preferences. If teens really like a track, they might buy it digitally, but more likely will find a way to rip the mp3 from a site in spite of the sub par quality or get it from a friend who has it.
Finally, as the NPD Group argues, many teens may have the bulk of their music collections already downloaded (most likely illegally) on their MP3 players. What stood out to me in the story about the UK research was the acknowledgment by those in the industry that teen streaming isn’t necessarily leading to teens paying for music online, but that it is giving these companies an opportunity to mine data for musical tastes and offer teens related products like t-shirts or concert tickets. A sign that the industry may finally be moving on to a new music model.