MTV’s report shows younger music fans expect free music and a seat at your breakfast table
A few weeks ago I was at The Trocadero, my favorite venue in Philadelphia, waiting for The Dandy Warhols to take the stage. Turns out, I was at The Troc seeing the Dandys exactly ten years before, and now I was looking around the place thinking, "Man, this crowd is aging out. There aren’t a lot of younger music fans in the audience."
There were some, to be sure, but I was surprised not to be feeling like the old guy in the room. And the Dandys are pretty savvy. Their new album is great, their website is cool, they serve as tastemakers for movies, books, and music… What do young music fans want these days?
Well, the answer comes to us by way of MTV Research, which released a report titled "Music to the M Power" that explains how Millennials (born 1980-2000) expect "zero distance" from the artists they like, an effect reportedly caused by social media.
"Zero distance?" you say. "What is that?"
Younger music fans crave "constant access" to artists, want an artist to act like a friend, and expect an artist to be constantly accessible via social media. As a matter of fact, Millennials have different expectations from different social media. Facebook is the "official outlet" for tour updates and information, Twitter is good for day-to-day highlights of life and interactions with celebrities, Instagram is like "seeing the world through [the artist’s] eyes," and Tumblr gives an "intimate glimpse into an artist’s psyche/spirit."
But don’t expect to sell your music to this group. Only 28% of the people surveyed had bought music within the past month, and 68% only pay for music "out of respect to the artist because they believe music should be free." Of course, 81% are more likely to buy your music if they feel close to you. Grant them constant access and you might make a sale.
The report also shows Millennials have a penchant for diversity, as the shuffle generation’s playlists include wildly varying genres and eras spanning Etta James to One Direction.
I know, things have changed, get over it. But still, I remember sitting in my room as a kid, listening to a vinyl record, just staring at the album cover and liner notes, extracting every possible ounce of meaning from the art the artist had provided. I never wanted to know what they did during the day. Boy is that over, huh? Your new single might make a playlist, but your tweet about coffee with JLo is really where it’s at. Social media may beat the days of the snail mail flyer for gig alerts, but don’t expect a whole lot of down time — or music sales.
Oh, but it’s now cool to sell out. Kids these days understand you have to make your money somehow.
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