YouTube has become the primary music service among young adults, finds a new study by Aalto University. 99% of the respondents to a survey on digital music use listened to YouTube at least sometimes, 35% every day.
Spotify is also popular in Finland. 41% of respondents used the service daily. The figures are based on answers from 762 Finnish internet users, on average 22 years of age.
"Our target segment was young adults, who live in the internet, consume music in great quantities and pioneer technology use," says Dr. Lassi A Liikkanen from Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT.
Services such as YouTube and Spotify are challenging the traditional way consuming music via ownership and possession. New services offer millions of song stored in internet cloud instead of consumers' own device.
Digital music services are most commonly used with a laptop. YouTube is frequently used to find music at a friend's place, Spotify is the first choice for background music. The most popular contents are very similar across the services.
The transition to digital consumption takes place gradually. CD is the still the foundation of the record industry and the youth have not totally abandoned it either. Third of all respondents still choose CD for focused listening at home.
"Young people are music technology poly users," Liikkanen continues. "The music source is picked according to the situation, but there is also faithfulness."
Universal access is the key to YouTube's access
Youtube is accessible for free in web browsers and most smart phones. Ease of use has worked in YouTube's favor. Music is easily accessible and can be simply shared with friends in social media.
Music is the number one content category in YouTube globally. However, this service was never designed as a music service and this results in problems the study participants reported.
"People have cleverly appropriated technology to meet their needs," Liikkanen explains. "They have generated ways to utilize YouTube unthought of by the designers."
In Finland, the music content in YouTube has this far been presented without advertising. This relates to a missing deal of copyright payments. But the negotiations are on the way and in-stream ads are expected later this year.
"We shall see how willing people remain to listen to music from YouTube, if every song is preceded by a commercial message," Liikkanen ponders.
In addition to actual music videos, YouTube includes new video types created with the sole purpose of enabling music listening. Users have created by "videos" containing only a still image or karaoke style lyrics over it.
The study results were published in a peer-reviewed article by Lassi A. Liikkanen and Tuukka Sandström appearing in Finnish journal Tekniikan Waiheita (2/2013) this week.
The study was conducted in late 2012 and involved interviews with music industry stakeholders.
Explore further: Review: Online stylists for the shopping-averse