We’re listening to more music than ever before and we’re still buying it, though we’re obsessed with YouTube. And if you fit Double J’s demographic, there’s a good chance you’ve discovered Spotify, Apple Music or any of the other streaming services, and you’re telling your mates.

Those are just some of the insights contained in a new study into the listening habits of tech-enabled music fans.

The IFPI’s 17-page Music Listening 2019 survey, published overnight, is a global snapshot of music engagement and consumption, with deeper analysis on the listening habits in China, India, Mexico and South Korea.

It’s all based on research carried out by the trade body in 21 territories earlier this year. A total of 34,000 internet users were polled, including an undisclosed number of Australians.


According to the report, Aussies are still paying for CDs, vinyl and downloads. In fact, 27 percent of us bought tunes in the past month, placing us behind only the U.S., U.K and South Korea (with a whopping 44%) in that particular category.

Almost 90% of respondents were found to listen to music through any type of on-demand streaming platform, with YouTube the standout (77%). There’s a “strong” appetite for subscription platforms (64% used one in the past month, up 7 percent) and there’s a measurable “surge” with older groups jumping in.

Some 54% of 35-64s say they used a music streaming service in the past month, up 8% from last year.

“This year’s report tells an exciting story of how fans are increasingly engaging with music. At a time when multiple forms of media vie for fans’ attention, they are not only choosing to spend more of their time listening to – and engaging with – music but they are doing so in increasingly diverse ways,” comments Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI.

Frances Moore
Frances Moore

“The enduring partnership between record companies and artists is the bedrock on which this growing, exciting global world of passionate music listeners is built. Record companies work with their artists to help connect them with fans around the world.”

Music is accessible just about everywhere people hang out. So in a surprise to no one, that’s had an impact on the amount of time we tune in to music, up from 17.8 hours a week to 18 hours each week, which breaks down to 2.6 hours a day.

Radio still matters. Around the world, folks listen to music from the radio for almost 5-and-a-half hours each week. New Zealanders, we learn, are ahead of the trend, spending more than 7.3 hours each week on broadcast radio.

It’s not all hunky dory, though. Illegally-sourced music and, in particular, stream ripping is still a problem, with 23% of those interviewed admitting to using illegal stream ripping services.

The report “highlights that the availability of music through unlicensed methods, or copyright infringement, remains a real threat to the music ecosystem,” notes Moore. “Practices such as stream ripping are still prevalent and return nothing to those who create and invest in music. We continue to coordinate worldwide action to address this.”

Globally, more than 50 million tracks are licensed across the plethora of legitimate digital music services, the IFPI reports, smart speakers are on the rise and almost US$6 billion is spent on A&R and marketing artists each year.

Read the full report here.