Nielsen Survey: American Teens Prefer YouTube for Music

Posted by · August 16, 2012 11:28 am

New survey data released by Nielsen on Thursday reveals that most teenagers use YouTube to listen to (and watch) music. Tossing aside archaic devices like radios and CD players, American youth have joined the 21st century in their music listening.

“Nearly two thirds of the 3,000 young people polled by Nielsen said they use YouTube, Google’s video streaming site, to listen to songs,” writes The Guardian’s Sean Michaels. “Although the service does not specialize in music, its vast library of user-uploaded tracks—for which YouTube has several licensing deals—makes it a popular alternative to music services such as Spotify and Rdio.”

According to the survey, some 64 percent of American teens listen to music on YouTube. This contrasts quite significantly with the 56 percent who still listen to the radio and the 50 percent who not only know what CDs are, but actually listen to them. Meanwhile, the survey also reveals that 53 percent of respondents purchase and listen to music on iTunes. Unfortunately, the survey did not include teenager use of Spotify, Pandora, Grooveshark and other music streaming services.

The reason for this shift in music consumption, suggests Nielsen VP David Bakula, is the “tremendous expansion and diversification” of music access in recent years. “With so many ways to purchase, consume and discover great new music,” he continues, “it’s no wonder that the consumer continues to access and enjoy music in greater numbers.”

This gravitation of American youth toward YouTube, of course, serves to underscore a growing concern over licensing arrangements between Google and music rights-holders. Not unlike the growing opposition to Grooveshark’s free, ad-less music service that makes the site’s future less than certain, YouTube will likely be forced to increase its licensing deals or face continued (and quite costly) legal action.

Which then only serves to beg the question: How much longer until YouTube joins the ranks of subscription-based media services?

How about you? What service (or device) do you use to listen to music? Share your method of choice in the comments below.

For more on the Nielsen survey on teen music consumption…