Music Today | Facts and Figures of Music in the Digital Age

How people experience music today has drastically changed over the last couple of decades. This generation has seen music go from cassette tapes, to CDs, to MP3 players, digital ownership and now digital streaming. Not only that has changed, because of today’s technology, how music is made has changed drastically. While the musical geniuses of yester years only had their instruments to play with, nowadays we can even record animal sounds and incorporate them to music. We’re recording whales nowadays for Pete’s sake!

Below are some trivia about where music currently is today.

How do People Listen to Music?

For the first time ever in 2014 the music industry derived the same revenue from digital channels and physical format sales. Music sales used to be largely about how many records, as in physical records, artists could sell. Now, the digital age has made it possible to not only buy albums online but to choose which songs you’d like to purchase.

  • 46% revenues from digital channels
  • 46% from physical format sales
  • 6% performance rights
  • 2% synchronization revenues

Where do People Listen to Music?

I still remember a time in my childhood where the only way I could listen to music was through the radio or through cassette tapes I purchased with my weekly allowance (shout out to the Backstreet Boys!). Not only do today’s digital natives no longer recognize cassette tapes, they now live in a world where music can be enjoyed in so many different ways. The digitalization of music has released music from its physical confines. Never before have you been able to take music anywhere you want and change media the way we do today. Here is where people listen to music today:

  • 7% at home
  • 3% in the car
  • 20% at work
  • 3% in the car
  • 9% in the gym
  • 1% all the time

And HOW?

  • Through the radio – 22.9%
  • On iTunes – 5.7%
  • Using CDs – 5.7%
  • Via online downloads – 65.7%

What Genres are People Listening To?

According to a Nielsen study, rock ruled the air waves in 2014. This comes as no surprise as rock is one of the consistent performers when it comes to genre popularity. Rock, as you may or may not know, is one of the older genres. It first emerged in the 1940s as a sort of lovechild of the blues and country music. It became a full-fledged genre in the 1950s and became the most popular type of music of that decade especially in the US and in the UK.

  • Rock – 29%
  • Other – 24%
  • R&B and Hip-hop – 17%
  • Pop – 15%
  • Country – 11%
  • Dance/EDM – 3%

Take a look at this data and more on the infographic below:

Music is changing on more than just soundcloud


As you can see, streaming has become the most popular way of consuming music among the current generation. Online streaming has exploded in the last couple of years, but why has it become so popular?

About 75% of people who listen to music say that they also listen to music online here are some of the reasons why: 83% stream music because it’s affordable. Never has music been cheaper. From $0.55 per minute in 1977 (vinyl) music can now cost up to approximately $0/minute via grooveshark. 82% stream music because of how accessible and easy to use it is and 73% report that they prefer streaming songs online because of the wealth of songs available online..

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