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Report: The Internet’s Role in Music Purchase Decisions

June 6, 2008 by

I recently read the following interesting bit on

The internet has little sway over most music-related buying decisions, at least according to a survey released by the Pew Internet American Life Project. “The internet helps music buyers connect with artists and learn more about music, but it doesn’t strongly influence what or how they buy,” the group asserted in a recently-published report.

In telephone surveys traversing several thousand adults, the group found that 83 percent of Americans discover music through terrestrial radio, movies, or television. A total of 64 percent pointed to tips from friends and family, while another 56 percent pointed to online sources.

And when it comes to actual purchasing decisions, the survey showed that offline sources carry the greatest influence. In fact, 51 percent responded that the internet carried no influence whatsoever on purchasing decisions, while 37 percent pointed to a minor impact. A total of 12 percent pointed a major role, according to the survey results.

But post-purchase, fans generally started engaging with the artist more online. Meanwhile, Pew cautioned against a premature dismissal of the CD. According to the data, 82 percent of music buyers reported that most or all of their purchases were in the form of a disc. That figure lessened somewhat to 69 percent among buyers under the age of 36.

I don’t know… If 56% of respondents are discovering new music through online sources, and 49% report that online sources have some kind of influence on their music purchase decisions, that seems like more than “little sway” to me.

A copy of the report can be found at

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