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IFPI Global Consumer Report Quantifies Streaming’s Domination of Listening Time, But Piracy Hasn’t Gone Away

The increased availability of licensed music services is leading to a surge in consumption, claims a comprehensive IFPI report measuring consumer habits across 20 of the world's leading markets.

The increased availability of licensed music services is leading to a surge in consumption, claims a comprehensive IFPI report measuring consumer habits across 20 of the world’s leading markets.

On average consumers spend 17.8 hours listening to music each week globally, equating to 2.5 hours a day, with 86 percent of those surveyed doing so through on-demand streaming platforms such as Spotify and YouTube, finds IFPI’s “Music Consumer Insight Report 2018.” 

The study was carried out by IFPI and research company AudienceNet, who surveyed a geographically representative sample of between 1,000 and 2,000 music fans aged between 16 and 64 across 18 territories, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Brazil, France, South Africa, Germany and Mexico. 

The study was also conducted in China and India, although results from these two countries are not included in IFPI’s global figures.


Key findings from the report include 75 percent of consumers around the world now use smartphones to listen to music, with the number rising to 94 percent among 16-24 year-olds. Across all ages, 27 percent of total music listening is via mobile devices.

In terms of streaming, nearly half (47 percent) of all time spent listening to on-demand music is through YouTube, with 28 percent via paid subscription services and 20 percent through free ad-supported music platforms.

In the key 16-24-year-old age group, 57 percent of respondents said they subscribe to a music streaming platform like Spotify or Apple Music. 

As for where consumers most typically listen to music, the car ranks as the most popular location globally, as voted for by 66 percent of respondents, while local repertoire continues to dominate individual countries’ charts.

In Japan, two-thirds of consumers (66 percent) listen to J-Pop; 69 percent of people in France said they listen to Variété Française and, in Brazil, 55 percent were regular consumers of música popular brasileira.


The report also found strong uptake of licensed music services in markets once rife with piracy, such as China and India, where 96 percent of people surveyed said they now listen to legally licensed music.

Nevertheless, piracy continues to be a problem with more than one-third (38 percent) of consumers admitting to accessing copyright infringing music. IFPI identifies stream ripping as the most popular method.

When it comes to listening tastes, pop is the most popular global genre, followed by rock and then dance/EDM. Despite its current domination of the Billboard charts, hip-hop and rap is only the fifth most popular music genre, narrowly finishing ahead of singer-songwriter, classical and R&B.

IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said the study reflects how deeply recorded music has become woven into the lives of fans around the world. “However, this report also shows the challenges the music community continues to face,” she warned, citing “the evolving threat of digital copyright infringement, as well as in the failure to achieve fair compensation from some user-upload services.”