Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CDs Still Important States New Study

Nielsen logo graphic from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 music industry blog
Nielsen Research just came out with its yearly Nielsen Music 360 study, and like every year, it provides an interesting overview of the music world we live in. That said, it also provides a different look at reality of the music world we live in than we're led to believe.

You're going to see different parts of the study cited in the news in coming days, but I bet that most will overlook something that screamed out to me - CDs are much more relevant than most of the world thinks.

Let me say up front that I don't use optical discs of any kind and haven't for at least a year, so I have no love for the shiny pieces of plastic, but the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of people out there that still use them regularly, according to Nielsen. Here's an example from the study:
  • 50% of teens still listen to music on CD.
Now it's also true that 64% of teens listen to music on YouTube, 56% on radio, and 53% on iTunes, but who would've thought that the number for CDs would be so high? If you listen to the media, you'd think that any kid that still listens to CDs is stuck in the back woods of Appalachia. still has a black and white television and only gets power for 4 hours a day. But the problem is that the media sometimes confuses the kids of Silicon Valley with the kids everywhere else, and let's face it, there's just no comparison.

Want some other figures that may blow your mind?
  • 36% of teens purchased a CD last year. 
Now it's also true that 51% purchased some sort of download, but once again, most media savvy people wouldn't in a thousand years expect the CD purchase figure to be that high.

How about this one:
  • 55% identified physical CDs as a very or fairly good value.
Once again, this was beaten by digital albums (63%) and digital singles (61%), but who would've thought that the CD would be anywhere near those on the chart?

This all goes to show that while the CD may a medium in a death spiral, it's a not buried just yet. It's much more viable as a distribution medium than we're all led to believe.

Tomorrow I'll provide some other interesting info from the same survey.

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