WASHINGTON – Rock music remained the most purchased genre among music consumers in 2003 while fans continued to purchase their music from new sources, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) 2003 Consumer Profile – an annual demographic survey of more than 2,900 music consumers in the United States.
“This is an exciting time to be a music fan,” said Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA. “Never before in the music community’s history has there been so many ways to enjoy music legitimately. Record companies are working with many different third party technology and distribution businesses to help consumers enjoy music in a wide variety of ways, including authorized download and subscription services. Music companies are also working with digital, satellite and Internet radio outlets as well as with cellular phone companies. We hope fans of all ages continue to embrace the numerous great ways they can experience music legally.”
This annual research project, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, is designed to contribute important demographic information about purchasers of sound recordings in the United States, as well as provide a profile of consumer purchasing patterns over the past decade.
Rock music remained the most purchased genre among music consumers in 2003. It represented 25.2 percent of the market, up slightly from 24.7 the previous year.
In 2003, non-music-only outlet purchases continued to grow from 50.7 percent in 2002 to 52.8 percent in 2003. These types of stores include, but are not limited to, mass merchandisers, discount department stores, electronics stores and book stores.
Rap/Hip Hop was once again the second most purchased genre, comprising 13.3 percent of the market.
R&B also held on to its share of the market, remaining in third place overall. Country music was the fourth most purchased genre.
Suggesting that consumers are increasingly aware of the legal ways to acquire music from online sources and digital music providers, online music purchases increased in 2003, up to five percent from 3.4 percent in 2002, while digital downloads increased to 1.3 percent of the market in 2003, up from 0.5 percent in 2002. Purchases at conventional record stores continued to decline in 2003, from 36.8 percent in 2002 to 33.2 percent in 2003.
Gender and Age
The gender breakdown of music purchasers remained relatively flat. In 2002, females comprised 50.6 percent of music purchasers while in 2003 the number was 50.9 percent of music purchasers.
A comparison of the distribution of purchases by age for 2002 and 2003 shows a decrease in the proportion of units purchased by tweens, teens, and young adults (10-24 years of age) and a larger share purchased by buyers over age 45, compared to purchasing patterns of other age groups. Tweens, teens, and young adults collectively made up 33.7 percent of music purchasers in 2002 and only 30 percent of purchasers in 2003. Buyers over age 45 rose again this year, when they made up 25.5 percent of purchasers in 2002 and 26.6 percent in 2003.
“The decline in young buyers, who are the most active downloaders on peer to peer systems, is another confirmation that illegal downloading is one factor, along with economic conditions and competing forms of entertainment, that is displacing legitimate sales,” added Bainwol. “In fact, a recent study by Voter Consumer Research affirmed that consumers who download more are buying less. In that study, 33 percent of people between the ages of 18-24 who download said they bought less music than in the past year.”