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Nearly half of Americans think streaming services are too expensive

on January 10, 2016, 8:05pm

Nielsen has released its annual 360 Report for 2015, and the results are a bit of a mixed bag for streaming music. The tracking system surveyed 3,000 US music listeners, and while the data showed an increase in overall streaming use, it seems many Americans are still unwilling to pay for streaming services because they think they’re too expensive.

Overall, there was an 83% increase in on-demand streaming use versus 2014, but the data would suggest much of that came from unpaid services. 46% of those surveyed said they were unlikely to subscribe to a service such as Spotify or Apple Music because “they are too expensive.” Besides which, as 42% noted, “I can stream music for free.” An overwhelming 78% of the non-paying subscribers said they’d be somewhat to very unlikely to pay for streaming over the next six months.

(Read: Music Streaming for Dummies: A Consumer’s Guide)

Somewhat ironically, of those listeners who do pay for streaming, 83% claimed “cost” was the main deciding factor in which service they chose. Considering that almost all services offer premium rates of $9.99 a month, this data point could be interpreted to mean cost of streaming versus purchasing albums or songs. (It could also be interpreted that the 46% who claimed about the price are cheap bastards, but that’s neither here nor there.) 82% percent of users listed “ease of use” as a deciding factor in choosing a service, while 73% said “song library.”

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Nielsen’s report came out almost simultaneously to reports that Apple Music had reached 10 million paid users, nearly half that of Spotify. Still, Nielsen’s numbers show that while streaming use is increasing, the services still have a ways to go in convincing some people it’s worth the cost. In fact, Nielsen’s report also indicates that of the average $152 a year consumers spend on music, roughly 7% is spent on streaming. That’s the same as what’s being spent on music gift cards, and only slightly more than what’s going towards admission to DJ events or “small live music sessions.”

For more fascinating statistics, including breakdowns of listening and spending habits for teens and millennials, check out Nielsen’s entire 360 Report.

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