Sunday, October 10, 2010

9 Reasons Why People Don't Buy Downloads

We all have our theories as to why consumers buy, or don't buy, digital downloads. Most of us are guessing or going by a gut feeling, but occasionally we hear from someone that has some real data that confirms our assumptions. At the Digital Music Forum West in Los Angeles last Wednesday, NPD Group analyst Russ Crupnick gave these 9 reasons during his presentation:

1) People listen to AM/FM radio instead

2) They prefer to own the physical CD

3) They're spending less on entertainment

4) They don't listen to music on their computer

5) They're satisfied with their collection

6) They don't spend as much time listening to music

7) They don't own a portable digital music player

8) They don't feel comfortable using their credit card online

9) They don't think that downloads are a good value, their afraid of spyware/viruses, downloads are too expensive, or they have no time to learn about new music (that seems like 4 reasons to me).

All that being said, Crupnick also noted that among the 13-25 set, price and access to shared music files rank higher than the rest of the population.

There's not much mystery here except for the order (number 2 seems too high to me), but now there seems to be some quantifiable evidence to what we all thought.

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Jeff Shattuck said...

Um, you forgot number one: because they're cool with stealing.

Dave King said...

But still, downloads are outselling physical CDs these days. Right?

Bobby Owsinski said...

Yes they are, Dave. But that's deceiving since a download is for a single song and is cheaper. If you compare digital albums to CDs that's a different story.

AdamG said...

I'm sorry Bob, love the blog but had to comment here. I feel quite strongly that you are either taking the p*ss by concurring or that you and "analyst" Russ Crupnick have lost touch completely with the 15-35 age groups.

Points 2 and part of 9 are the only credible arguments raised and the rest listed are a load of rubbish. This reads like a "Top 10 reasons why CD's killed the record industry" from the early 90's.

I don't know a SINGLE person who:
- doesn't listen to music on their computer (almost everyone does in one way or another... don't lie!)
- doesn't own a portable music player (pretty much every mobile handset on the market today is one..)
- spends less on entertainment (don't have fancy stats here but I dare say you would be surprised how much people REALLY spend on entertainment... especially in these economic times)
- doesn't feel comfortable using their credit card online: ask around... Who doesn't use Ebay or Paypal or iTunes or Amazon? All require credit cards in one way or another. We're damn comfortable with it.
- who is comfortable with their music collection: We ALL search for something new at some stage in our lives... for some its this week, this morning, this minute, for others its next year... Same diff.

As for Radio, I think it still has its place but services like Spotify are Rapidly taking over. Why listen to a long stream of rubbish banter and ads when you can listen to anything you like at your fingertips, instantly.

Besides, more and more people are living in major cities and using public transport more frequently which means Radio is out of the picture... say hello to Mister Portable Music player.

Now the key point, as with all of this, is Value. People don't value downloads as much as CD's, FACT. They probably value a well designed LP even more! People are 'swamped' everyday with an ever increasing abundance of choice shackled to a eery gloom of mediocrity. There is sooo much music out there and most of it is RUBBISH.

As for illegal downloads, well, they wouldn't have materialised into purchases in the first place. Your kidding yourselves, just like the major labels, if you think that they would have.

How about a reframe: if my music is valuable to someone they will buy it. If it is not, the least I can hope for is that they listen to it and pass it on to someone else whom may indeed value it and purchase it.

The only way forward, as I see it, is to rebuild a Better, more Significant music community. To develop stronger connections with fans and treat them with the respect they give your music. Nurture the concept that value is different to different people but always worth something. Don't expect the world to pay, find the people who Want to pay.

I'll leave you with that,


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