DiMA releases its ‘Streaming Forward: Fan Engagement Report 2023,’ a trove of (unsurprisingly) positive stats on music streaming services.
Digital Media Association (DiMA), the US-based trade body that represents music streaming services, has published a fan engagement report with findings from a survey of 3,000 music fans in the US. ‘Streaming Forward: Fan Engagement Report 2023‘ is based on online responses given by 2,000 people who use streaming services and 1,000 who do not, the idea being to compare “streamers” and “non-streamers.”
Unsurprisingly, because DiMA is the trade body representing streaming services, the findings highlighted for its report naturally reflect positively on these companies. That said, reports like DiMA’s provide a helpful snapshot of how the sector or the company involved wishes to present itself.
A big part of the pitch for the music streaming sector is about personalization: “Five of the top six features in which streaming services outrank every other music format relate to customization/personalization or the impact of unlimited shelf space,” notes the DiMA report.
Notably, the “other formats,” as compared in the report, are satellite radio, social media platforms, downloaded content, and traditional radio. While it may seem odd at first glance that digital streaming services would actively compare themselves to social media platforms, it only speaks to the looming shadow of TikTok and its ambitions in the music sector.
According to DiMA’s survey, streamers are most likely to listen to music via customized playlists created by music fans or friends (45%) or by the streaming service itself (43%). Streaming is reinforced in the report as a valuable method to discover music, citing that 86% of those surveyed said they find their streaming service’s recommendations for new songs and artists helpful.
“Almost three-quarters of streamers (72%) are more likely to continue listening to the new artists and songs recommended to them by streaming services,” reports DiMA, adding that 62% of those surveyed say they are “more of a fan of a new and different artist or genre due to streaming.”
Additionally, DiMA’s report finds that streamers spend an average of $387 a year on music compared to non-streamers’ $242 — which includes subscriptions, downloads, physical music, tickets, and paid live streams. Around 72% of streamers listen to music daily compared to 49% of non-streamers; the former averages 1,283 hours a year listening across all formats, while the latter averages 792 hours.
One notable finding says that 75% of streamers tend to “research or look up the songwriters of the songs they listen to compared to less than two-thirds of non-streamers (62%),” both of which are higher figures than many songwriters might expect.
DiMA’s survey also found that 93% of music streamers surveyed and 83% of non-streamers agreed that “streaming has had a positive effect on the music industry” — a divisive topic throughout the industry, to be sure.
“Making music more accessible to everyone anywhere on the planet is perceived to be the biggest benefit of streaming by streamers (49%) and non-streamers (34%) alike,” says DiMA. “Additionally, about one-third or more of streamers (42%) and non-streamers (31%) believe streaming provides up-and-coming artists with a better opportunity of being discovered compared to traditional formats.”
The cognitive dissonance between listeners who think streaming has positively affected the music industry and musicians who worry about its impact on their earnings is unsurprising. Still, it is essential to recognize it and why reports like DiMA’s provide valuable data to consider.