A recent study of online music streaming listeners has revealed some very interesting facts about music playlists and how, when and why music fans choose to listen to them. The survey describes playlist listening as "the new radio," with over 90 percent of premium subscribers to Spotify and Apple music either creating playlists for themselves or others to listen to.
In a survey of over 500 listeners to either one of the two top on-demand music streamers, subscribers revealed some fascinating information about the behavior and habits of music streaming fans. Not only have 9 out of 10 subscribers created at least one playlist in the last three months, but 4 out of 10 create playlists on a weekly basis.
It appears as if Apple Music subscribers are more likely than those of Spotify premium to create playlists specifically for members of their friends and family to listen to, with 35 percent of Apple Music listeners doing so as opposed to 28 percent of Spotify Premium fans. Forty-five percent of playlist creators also publicly share their playlists on their chosen streamer. Spotify has more than twice as many premium listeners than Apple Music, with the latest tally for Spotify coming in at 39 million premium subscribers compared with Apple Music's 15 million.
The data also reveals that on both services, listeners care much more about the content of the playlist than who actually created it. Eighty-five percent of subscribers said they don't care who creates a playlist as long as the songs themselves are good, and more than two-thirds of them choose a new playlist to listen to only on the basis of a few songs. That means listeners are open to discovering new music, and supports additional findings that music genre is the top basis upon which streaming subscribers choose a playlist in the first place. Only around half of them, however, listen to the songs on the playlist in the order in which they were originally listed, with the shuffle function used in more cases than not to randomize the order of the tracks.
It was designed "to understand what's really important to listeners, and it's the essence of the song and the artist that wins, in the end. There's debate about human versus machine curation, about celebrity personalization, and about music sharing on social platforms, but ultimately listeners are really most concerned about whether a playlist provides song that they like and offers a touch of music discovery, too," Russ Crupnick, managing partner of MusicWatch, who performed the survey, explained.