A recent study released by Nielsen reported that people in the United States are still listening to music more than any other leisure activity. From the article:
…93% of the U.S. population listens to music, spending more than 25 hours each week jamming out to their favorite tunes. In fact, 75% of Americans say they actively choose to listen to music, which is more than they claim to actively choose to watch TV (73%). Whether in the car (25%), at work (15%) or while doing chores (15%), we spend big chunks of our time listening to music.
What has changed in recent years is the way we listen to music. There are two trends that I’d like to point out from recent data. One is the rise of digital consumption of music, and the other is the rise in the sale of vinyls. Data released by the IFPI indicates that more than ever, users are using streaming sites and downloading albums rather than purchasing physical copies. Through apps like Spotify and sites like Youtube and Pandora, users can stream full albums at little to no cost. And with digital downloads, many music fans are either buying singles or screening and buying just the tracks they like, rather than purchasing an entire album. Despite this increase in digital purchasing and use of purely digital media, the rise in vinyl production is one indicator that for some media consumers, buying a song for your computer simply isn’t enough- there needs to be a physical product to go along with the music.
I am wondering if progressive rock fans, as a whole, are more likely to prefer a physical copy over a digital copy. Here at Proglodytes, we still talk a lot about albums. In my years of engaging with progressive rock fans on the internet, the discussions are generally album focused as opposed to song focused. I still see discussions about albums as the standard artistic unit of an artist, and a bands’ successes or failures are often based on the strength of an entire album, as opposed to the strength of individual tracks. Because progressive rock is still a niche genre, I have seen really positive relationships and interactions between fans and artists, and fans often times will proudly post pictures of new CD purchases or vinyls, proving their loyalty to the artists who often get sleighed by Spotify’s microscopic artist payout.
My (as of now unsupported, mostly anecdotal) hypothesis is that progressive rock/metal fans are more likely to buy albums and vinyls than digital downloads, but I could be wrong. So, progressive music fans: What is your preferred way to listen to music? Pick one, or add your own.