Song Stories

How Music Consumer Research Has Changed


Episode Summary

Studying people’s music buying habits used to be simple. You handed a person a stack of postcards and told them to send you one the next time they bought an album. They wrote down what they purchased, why they purchased it, where they purchased it, how much they paid for it, and sent that postcard back to you. Russ Crupnick, managing partner of research group MusicWatch Inc., says the rise of file-sharing clients and streaming music services has made it harder to track where people getting their music and whether they are paying anything at all. The number of things that people are doing has increased each passing year. You have to ask people a myriad of questions to cover all the bases. Are you listening to AM/FM radio or SiriusXM? Are you playing songs on Pandora or Spotify? Are you looking up music videos on YouTube or VEVO? Are you buying songs on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon? Are you ripping the audio from a video clip on YouTube and downloading it to your computer as a MP3 file? If you type “YouTube to MP3” into Google’s search engine, it lists dozens of websites that allow you to enter a video link and download a MP3 file. In a few clicks, Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” can be playing in iTunes. “The average stream ripper is taking the equivalent of about two albums per year,” says Crupnick. What follows is a podcast interview with Russ Crupnick.

Episode Notes

Studying people’s music buying habits used to be simple. You handed a person a stack of postcards and told them to send you one the next time they bought an album. They wrote down what they purchased, why they purchased it, where they purchased it, how much they paid for it, and sent that postcard back to you. Russ Crupnick, managing partner of research group MusicWatch Inc., says the rise of file-sharing clients and streaming music services has made it harder to track where people getting their music and whether they are paying anything at all. The number of things that people are doing has increased each passing year. You have to ask people a myriad of questions to cover all the bases. Are you listening to AM/FM radio or SiriusXM? Are you playing songs on Pandora or Spotify? Are you looking up music videos on YouTube or VEVO? Are you buying songs on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon? Are you ripping the audio from a video clip on YouTube and downloading it to your computer as a MP3 file? If you type “YouTube to MP3” into Google’s search engine, it lists dozens of websites that allow you to enter a video link and download a MP3 file. In a few clicks, Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” can be playing in iTunes. “The average stream ripper is taking the equivalent of about two albums per year,” says Crupnick. What follows is a podcast interview with Russ Crupnick.