By Glenn Peoples
Radio and YouTube dominate music discovery, but the high-value music fans find new music at concerts.
Many surveys have shown that people most commonly discover music through radio and YouTube, but a new study aims to highlight not only the role concerts play in music discovery, but the high-value fans they draw in as well.
Commissioned by Eventbrite and conducted by MusicWatch, the survey found a third of consumers had discovered an artist they liked at a concert or festival. What’s more, three in four of those fans ended up purchasing a ticket to see that artist perform again.
The discovery process has typically been associated with mass media like radio and television, or word of mouth between friends and family. The “Infinite Dial 2015” report by Edison Research and Triton Digital shows 76 percent of consumers say either the Internet or radio is the first medium used to discover new music. Nielsen’s 2014 Year-End Music Report claimed radio continues to be “the number-one source of music discovery.”
But what about live events? Eventbrite, a San Francisco-based ticketing company, wanted to learn more about the link between music discovery channels and concert attendance. To that end, the company commissioned MusicWatch to conduct a nationwide survey of 1,000 consumers aged 18 to 49 that had attended at least one concert in the last year.
Questions about music discovery have typically overlooked the role of concerts, says MusicWatch’s Russ Crupnick. Consumer surveys typically give respondents a list of choices focusing on traditional discovery channels such as radio and streaming service. This time around, when MusicWatch left the question open-ended, “close to ten percent” of survey respondents mentioned concerts and festivals, according Crupnick.
The results show music spending is related to the mode of discovery. Mass media like radio generates a large quantity of low-value discovery. This makes sense intuitively, since radio is a free and passive medium. In contrast, live event discovery is associated with high-value consumers that buy tickets, recorded music and merchandise. Crupnick tells Billboard consumers that attend live events spend about 20 times more than a person that doesn’t buy a ticket.
The study also found that compared to low-value, mass media fans, high-value fans are 15 percent more likely to attend two or more concerts per month. Twenty-eight percent of them have purchased artist merchandise after discovering an artist. The study stops short of providing recommendations. But given the value of fans made at concerts, artists have an obvious imperative to guide a new fan from the discovery stage to the relationship stage.