12% of music buyers purchase digital music files

Only 12% of music buyers report that they purchase digital music files, just 23% of internet-using music buyers say online resources were most important to their decision, and 63% say online information had no impact on their most recent purchase, according to Pew Internet Project. 10% of buyers seeking an alternative path (e.g., downloading digital files) can have large impacts on the model. When 23% of younger internet-using buyers, arguably the most active and attractive customers, purchase mostly or entirely digital files, the disruption is consequential.

83% music buyers find their music from hearing a song on the radio, on TV, or in a movie

83% music buyers find out about music from hearing a song on the radio, on TV, or in a movie. 64% of music buyers say they find out about music from friends, family, or coworkers, according to Pew Internet Project. 36% copies of songs from a friend, 35% find out about music by visiting an offline music store, 34% going to a concert is the way they have learned about music they may want to buy. Among people who have bought music in the prior year, 94% said that at least one of these offline means of learning about music had something to do with how they became acquainted with the music they purchased. For internet users in this module who bought music in the prior year, 96% said they learned about music from at least one of these offline means.

27% of internet users downloaded music from the internet in 2008

Shipments of CDs peaked at 942.5 mln units in 2000 and fell by 25% to 705 mln units in 2005, according to Pew Internet Project. Figures released earlier this year show that album sales fell by 9.5% in 2007, even though digital sales grew by 45% in this period. Some 27% of internet users say they have downloaded music from the internet, according to our March 2006 survey. 53% of respondents said they had purchased music in 2007, and 26% of respondents were directed to the module with detailed questions about music purchasing. Respondents who were directed to the music module are not representative of the general population. They are more likely to be internet users 83% and to have broadband at home (59% do), which compares to 73% and 50% respectively in the general population. They are also slightly younger, with a median age among adults of 43 compared with 45 in the general adult internet population.

53% of online Americans purchased music in 2007

Some 27% of internet users say they have downloaded music from the internet, according to March 2006 survey. Now 53% of respondents said they had purchased music in 2007, and 26% of respondents were directed to the module with detailed questions about music purchasing. Respondents who were directed to the music module are not representative of the general population, according to Pew Internet Project. They are more likely to be internet users 83% and to have broadband at home (59% do), which compares to 73% and 50% respectively in the general population. They are also slightly younger, with a median age among adults of 43 compared with 45 in the general adult internet population.

32% of internet users buy music online

62% of internet users who used the internet to find out about music they bought cite something they found offline with 32% saying it was something they found on the internet, according to the Pew Internet Project. When queried about specific ways the internet influenced their music buying decisions, here is what internet users who bought music in the previous year said: 68% said it helped them learn more about bands or artists they were interested in; 57% said it introduced them to new artists they had not heard about before; 42% said it helped them save money in buying music; 37% said online information led them to buy more music than they otherwise would have; 30% said online information changed the specific songs or album they had in mind.

56% of those who bought music most recently said they could have made the purchase online

For the most part, those who said their most recent music purchase was in a store were doing this by choice. Some 56% of those who bought music most recently said they could have made the purchase online, while 37% said they could not have. Among the 22% of music purchasers who bought most recently online, 61% could have bought their music in a store, with 35% saying they could not have done that. Just 7% of online music purchasers said they visited a store to sample music or ask for some help before getting their music online, according to the Pew Internet Project. As to the nature of the music purchase – CD or digital download – some 41% of online buyers of music ordered a compact disc and 58% downloaded digital files. Put differently, 13% of music buyers say their most recent music purchase was a digital download of music files. When asked whether information found online had a major impact, minor impact, or no impact at all, here is what music buyers who used the internet in their research said 51% said online information had no impact at all; 37% said it had a minor impact; 12% said it had a major impact.