Initial Research Results
How do people discover new music was one of the primary research questions I wanted to answer. In this pursuit, I talked to 15 people (friends and strangers), read studies and surveys, and found some interesting insights at the end.
In a survey conducted by YouGov, US adults are most likely to use the radio and music apps such as Spotify and Apple Music to discover new music. Let’s take a look at this chart from YouGov to see more detailed results.
It is surprising that 19% of the people who answered this survey said they do not seek new music. Although the people who seek out new music are still a majority with 81%, it’s worth noting that some people are content with the music they have so far. Seeing music apps on top of the list was not surprising, as all the people I talked to last week said they leverage music apps to find new songs to listen to. The most interesting item on the list to me was social media, with 30%. Although it’s very broad, it’s very similar to my idea of discovering music via strangers through AR glasses. We encounter random posts from random strangers on social media, and we end up watching a video or listening to a song embedded into their posts without knowing who they are. It’s interesting because 30% of the people who were surveyed discovered new music that way. These results from this survey gave me some reason to pursue my idea. However, I wanted to learn more about this topic, so I kept looking for more insights.
10 of 15 people I talked to said they discovered new music through word of mouth. They said it is almost always the most trusted form of finding new music because people they spoke to knew their music taste and made recommendations based on that. This was also a fascinating insight because that was totally the opposite of my idea as my product would make strangers the leading actors in our search for new music. Perhaps there could be room for introducing a way to use the data from friends and our music taste to develop a “likeability” score for the newly discovered music. For example, when I found out that the person sitting in front of me on the subway was listening to Five Years by David Bowie, the interface could show a 67% chance that I would like this song based on my music taste patterns. I will think more about that idea.
Another question I wondered about was whether people want to share what they are listening to with others? Why do they do it or don’t do it? I came across this article by Donna-Claire Chesman on DjBooth.net that had a great quote which I would like to share here. It said, “Little gets me excited like the phrase “Can you play… ?” because what you’re really saying to me is: “I want you to know this about me.”. It resonated well with me as I have always seen music as a way of expressing oneself, but was my assumption valid? To find it out, I asked people whether they share their music taste with others and why they do it. All of them said yes, but the reasons for it were far more interesting than the numbers.
Here are some of the reasons why people share what music they are listening to:
- Because it makes me feel understood.
- Because this song made me feel so much better, and I wanted to share this joy with my friend.
- Because it will give a glimpse of who I am.
- Because it shows I was thinking of them
- Because I think they would like this song
- Because we will have something to talk about
- Because it will show the way I feel about them
- Because it will express my inner mood and what I am going through
- Because it will show I have a good taste
Those were some of the interesting reasons for sharing music that people I talked to shared with me. It indeed shows sharing music is not just sharing music, and it’s more than that. Another interesting study I found was about how shared music preferences create social bonds between people. In this study done by Boer et al., they found that people expressed that they liked a new person better when finding that they shared the same musical taste than when they did not. This is fascinating because it can support my idea that music can be a way to connect with new people as well. We would be more inclined to start a conversation with a stranger if we find out they listen to the same music we are listening to.
In the upcoming weeks, I will dig deeper into this subject and try to discover how often people share music and how they would feel about sharing music with total strangers and getting recommendations. My next blog post will be about the two personas I’m going to create based on my research. After that, I will try to check what assumptions I have for my idea and develop hypotheses to question these assumptions by testing them.
Thank you for reading!