What Role Does Facebook And Social Media Play In Music Discovery?

Posted by on May 14, 2012

It used to be that every band had a MySpace page. Now, almost every group has a presence on Facebook. And now it’s become even easier (or harder if you ask music app makers) to listen to music via Facebook thanks to Spotify and other streaming services. But according to new research, social media still plays a minor role in music discovery.

In a new study discovered by Digital Music News, NPD Group researcher Russ Crupnick [correction: the full study was commissioned by NARM and digitalmusic.org, and members of the organizations can have full access] asked “highly-engaged music fans” the question “How did you first hear about (whatever song) you wanted to hear again?” This is what Crupnick supposedly found:

– On traditional AM/FM radio: 38 percent

– Friend played/sent/gave: 13 percent

– TV Show/Award Show: 13 percent

– YouTube/VEVO/Video Site: 12 percent

– Free Online Radio: 6 percent

– Saw/heard on social media site: 2-3 percent

Maybe we’re a little biased here, but how are social media sites so low? Given Facebook’s enormous popularity, we would’ve guessed that its role in music discovery was at least equal (if not a little more) to free online radio. But here’s where it gets slightly confusing: when the same fans were asked “What would make you buy more music?”, many said more Facebook updates about new music.

This response, a full graph of which can be seen online, essentially proves what many critics of these findings are claiming: it’s simply too early to judge and that there significant lag-times at play. Granted, it’s only been roughly eight months since Facebook launched its music integration, and even less since the switchover to Timeline. We don’t expect to see social media top traditional radio or TV anytime soon, but we wouldn’t doubt that its percentage will grow in the near future. Then again, there’s no certainty that Facebook will always be the top dog in social media (just look at MySpace).

[via Digital Music News]

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Categorised in: Digital Media