Survey: YouTube is the most popular way for teens to listen to music

By Sean Michaels, The Guardian
Thursday, August 16, 2012 10:59 EDT
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YouTube sensation Rebecca Black via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
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Teenagers today prefer to watch their music. According to a new survey, YouTube has surpassed radio and CDs to become the most popular way American adolescents listen to music.

Nearly two thirds of the 3,000 young people polled by Nielsen said they use YouTube, Google’s video streaming site, to listen to songs. Although the service does not specialise in music, its vast library of user-uploaded tracks – for which YouTube has several licensing deals – makes it a popular alternative to music services such as Spotify and Rdio.

Whereas 64% of teenagers said they listen to music on YouTube, only 56% said they use the radio. Fifty-three per cent said they play songs purchased on iTunes, and just 50% still listen to CDs. Nielsen did not poll the use of dedicated music streaming sites.

Despite the popularity of YouTube’s free service, only 17% of teens said they use music filesharing software. Seventy-two per cent said they had purchased music in the last 12 months, more than the average across all age groups. Almost half of them said they had used an iTunes gift card in the past year.

“The accessibility of music has seen tremendous expansion and diversification,” said Nielsen vice-president David Bakula. “With so many ways to purchase, consume and discover great new music, it’s no wonder that the consumer continues to access and enjoy music in greater numbers.”

YouTube’s popularity among music fans makes the stakes even higher for its ongoing legal battles with rights-holders. Although Google has several licensing deals in place, there remain disputes with rights-holders on both sides of the Atlantic. In Germany, one musicians’ group has asked YouTube to pay at least €0.006 per stream, which would mean millions of pounds in unpaid royalties.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

[YouTube sensation Rebecca Black via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com]

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