Music Consumption: Convenience and Investment
As the way we consume music continues to evolve, the general trend we’re beginning to identify is one of extremes. The gulf between convenience and investment is growing, and yet we’re now understanding how they can work together to create a cohesive experience for listeners.
Streaming has made music more readily available and easily consumable than ever before. Subscribers to Spotify, Apple Music, or similar services have access to millions of songs at the click of a mouse, or the tap of a screen. Music has never been this convenient, and its led to a great increase in consumption. While this sounds great, many detractors also say it’s made music more “disposable.” Easy come, easy go, right? We won’t get into the economics of how streaming has impacted artists, labels and the industry, but the significance is important to note.
On the other side of the gulf, we see a craving for more investment in the music we love. For an obsessed fan, adding an album to a library on Spotify doesn’t quite scratch the itch of fandom. There’s nothing tangible about it. The connection with the artist is purely digital, and it feels very distant, especially with a major corporation like Apple in the middle.
Which leads us to the rise in sales of vinyl. Its a trend that we’ve been watching for a while, but as it continues, its becoming clear its no fluke. It’s a symptom of a larger shift. A desire for fans to connect in a more meaningful way with the artists they love.
While the growth of streaming and the increase in vinyl sales have been clear for a while now, the connection between the two has not. Now, thanks to a study by ICM and shared with the BBC, we can see clearly how the two work together to create a complete experience for the fan. According to their research, 45% of vinyl purchases began with an initial listen on a streaming service. It’s time we stop looking at just one single music listening metric and begin to take in the entirety of data available to get a more wholistic view point.
For today’s music fans, it’s streaming for convenience, vinyl for investment.