Study reveals that music is the number one passion for one in three Australians

Music Crowd GenericThe Victorian Music Development Office (VMDO) has worked with Chris Carey, CEO of Media Insight Consulting, to understand how Australians access and engage with music in their latest research: VMDO Music Consumer Insights.

As a music industry entrepreneur, strategist and data expert with clients including Spotify, The O2 Arena and Sony Music, Carey said that the VMDO Music Consumer Insights research showed that Australians love music, “We found that one in three people (32%) said that music was their life – it’s their number one passion. On average, Australians are listening to music three to four hours a day.”

This week at the CHANGES music conference in Melbourne, Carey announced some of the key findings of the VMDO Music Consumer Insights research, which revealed:

Album listening isn’t dead and CDs are still in demand – the album format is still very popular (even for younger people and also amongst the mix of digital streaming playlists and single tracks available). This is encouraging for artists who want to deliver a body of work (not just tracks) and the demand highlights the opportunity for musicians to sell CDs and whole albums directly to consumers via their own digital channels or at their live performances.

YouTube is the biggest music streaming service in Australia – it performs strongly (21%) ahead of other specialist streaming services (11%). Whilst Spotify is the biggest revenue earner, and a hugely important partner for musicians, music businesses need to capitilise on the opportunities that YouTube offers for engaging with music consumers. The deeper engagement offered through video is one avenue that will convert listeners into fans. However, YouTube pays songwriters and artists less per stream than the specialist audio services like: Spotify, Soundcloud and Deezer.

Live music has a mass appeal and Australian music matters most – over 60% of Australians attend a live music event at least once a year. Victorians are the highest of any state with a strong appetite for local music – in Victoria 55% preferred to see Australian music artists live than other international talent (compared to 49% nationally). When asked why they don’t go to see more live music, many people identified that they do not want to go alone.

Music discovery is driven through traditional media and streaming – it’s accessed free via radio, television and film, which are ranked in the top ways to find new music, alongside playlists and YouTube. After discovering music, the most popular way to explore further is to stream on YouTube (26%) or paid streaming (17%) through Spotify or Apple Music. There is an opportunity to shift people from music engagers to music fans and importantly to bring listeners into the paid ecosystem for the first time.

Radio still really matters for listening, gigs and discovery – it’s the biggest way of listening to music (48%), followed closely by CDs (44%) and free video streaming (44%). When asked how they find out about live gigs, radio is ranked highest with 44% of people discovering live music that way compared to YouTube (22% – ranked as second highest). The role of community radio is a major contributor that drives people to the discovery of emerging local music and supporting a thriving local scene (particularly in Victoria through Tripe R and PBS).

In early June 2019, the VMDO Music Consumer Insights research surveyed 2,025 Australians through an online survey with 30 questions focused on how the general public – not just music fans – access and engage with music.

“The survey findings help us explain the attitudes that underpin consumer behaviours – they join the dots so we can understand how Australians connect with music through different access points from streaming services to purchasing tickets to a live performances,” said Carey.

VMDO General Manager, Bonnie Dalton, highlighted that the VMDO Music Consumer Insights study shows that across the board there is a love for music – especially Australian music. The VMDO Music Consumer Insights research complements the VMDO strategic priorities to develop and strengthen the Victorian music industry, including artists, managers and businesses, who are creating significant cultural impact and economic value.

“We know that Victorian music businesses are experts at connecting with music fans. These new insights highlight our potential to engage deeper with causal music consumers from across Australia,” said Dalton.

The VMDO are currently reviewing the VMDO Music Consumer Insights survey results and over the coming months plan to release a report focused on the research findings, including potential programs, initiatives or further research required. For more information, visit: for details.