All Stories

Guest Column: Pandora, Rdio, Spotify and Others Attract Differing Audience Segments
/ February 12, 2013 7:10 am

[Editor's Note: This is a guest column by Patrick McMullen. McMullen is Senior Analyst at Fizziology, where he manages predictive analytics, using SPSS and other tools to convert data into business intelligence. Fizziology uses the social conversation and online listening statistics to better understand how audiences interact with music today.]

Smartphone apps and Internet services have done their best to keep up with and change the way consumers listen to music. Online music streaming services are about 99¢-a-dozen (adjusting for inflation), and I was curious if fans of particular genres and listening methods tended to flock together online. Using Fizziology’s analysis capabilities, I found some interesting and significant variations in the Twitter, Facebook and blog conversations from users of iHeartRadio, LastFM, Pandora, Rdio, Songza, Spotify, Turntable.fm and YouTube.

Like comparing FM radio listeners to mix-cd makers and record store enthusiasts, people vary widely in their preferences for how and what they listen to online. iHeartRadio, Pandora and Songza – three services with similar radio-like functionality – are used most by those who enjoy the most popular genres and FM radio station formats in the country: pop, Top 40 chart artists, hip hop and country music. In fact, iHeartRadio users are mentioning Top 40 artists and songs in 28% of all social media posts about specific bands, artists, songs or genres.

In contrast to the relatively high amount of mentions of Top 40 artists in the social conversation from users of iHeartRadio and other streaming services, people who listen to music on Last.fm, Rdio and Spotify mention very little Top 40 music.  Less than 2% of all music-talk from users of any of these services mention Top 40 music. Rdio and Spotify are also alike in that their users tend to listen to full albums from artists or bands. While Last.fm can work similarly to Pandora or iHeartRadio in function, users of the service mostly talk about listening to rock (29%) and indie (20%) music.

YouTube (and Vevo) and Turntable.fm have users who are much different than the other groups. Turntable.fm caters to niche groups of electronic music enthusiasts who play varying formats of club and dance music. Its users also value finding obscure dance and electronic music that their peers haven’t heard. YouTube and Vevo cater especially to under-18 music listeners who enjoy popular acts such as Justin Bieber and emerging artists Austin Mahone and Austin Keller. They also enjoy engaging with the sites promotional banner ads mentioning upcoming albums and tours from their favorite artists.

All of this suggests audience cliques do tend to “hang out” together in the online music services, just like certain record stores and venues draw specific crowds in real life. But what are the affects of location? I found some compelling evidence to suggest there are indeed variations by region and market when it comes to what kind of music sources are being talked about online.

Rank Creative Communities Urban America Rural America College Towns

1

Pandora Pandora Pandora Pandora

2

Spotify Spotify Spotify Spotify

3

Last.fm YouTube Last.fm Last.fm

4

YouTube Last.fm YouTube YouTube

5

Rdio iHeartRadio iHeartRadio Turntable

6

iHeartRadio Rdio Turntable iHeartRadio

7

Turntable Songza Songza Songza

8

Songza Turntable Rdio Rdio
Rank Eastern Seaboard Deep South Big 10 Country West Coast

1

Pandora Pandora Pandora Pandora

2

Spotify Spotify Spotify Spotify

3

YouTube YouTube Last.fm YouTube

4

Last.fm iHeartRadio YouTube Last.fm

5

iHeartRadio Last.fm iHeartRadio Rdio

6

Songza Songza Turntable iHeartRadio

7

Turntable Turntable Songza Turntable

8

Rdio Rdio Rdio Songza

This table lists the most talked-about online music services by region and market type. Pandora and Spotify top every list, as they are the most ubiquitous music services at this time, but it becomes very interesting to compare the ranking of the rest of the services. In much of the country, Rdio is the least popular music service, but creative communities and the West coast specifically seem to have taken a liking to the service much more than the rest of the nation. On the contrary, iHeartRadio is much more popular in the South than it is in creative communities or the West coast.

Rank iHeartRadio Last.fm Pandora Rdio

1

Urban America Urban America Urban America Urban America

2

Eastern Seaboard Creative Communities Creative Communities Creative Communities

3

Deep South Eastern Seaboard Eastern Seaboard West Coast

4

Big 10 Country West Coast Big 10 Country Eastern Seaboard

5

Creative Communities Big 10 country Rural America Big 10 Country

6

West Coast Rural America Deep South Deep South

7

Rural America Deep South West Coast Rural America

8

College Towns College Towns College Towns College Towns
Rank Songza Spotify Turntable YouTube

1

Urban America Urban America Urban America Urban America

2

Eastern Seaboard Eastern Seaboard Creative Communities Eastern Seaboard

3

Creative Communities Creative Communities Eastern Seaboard West Coast

4

West Coast Big 10 Country West Coast Creative Communities

5

Big 10 Country West Coast Big 10 Country Big 10 Country

6

Deep South Rural America Rural America Deep South

7

Rural America Deep south Deep South Rural America

8

College Towns College Towns College Towns College Towns

Here is another look that compares the amount of social conversation coming from each region or market for each service. The relative sizes of urban America and college towns represent the opposing ends of the spectrum and are constant across all services. Still, the relative positions of the other rankings for each service are noteworthy. We can see that the West has abandoned Pandora quicker than the rest of America, as the region ranks just above college towns in providing social buzz about the service. However, the nationally unpopular Rdio receives a disproportionately high amount of buzz from West coast trendsetters. Creative communities are providing buzz for Pandora, LastFM, Rdio and Turntable.fm, but the young artists are, for the most part, overlooking outlets of Top 40 music such as YouTube and iHeartRadio.

The space of online music services such as Pandora and Spotify is but one more example of how interaction online sort-of mimics social behavior in the real world: like-minded people flock together and interact where their interests overlap. It’s important for recording artists, industry professionals and advertisers to know which fans are using which services and how they consume their music. For more on a social media analysis of the online music services, contact me at patrick@fizziology.com or follow up on our site for specific information about each service.


Comments are closed

Get Adobe Flash player