RAIN Poll results: More prefer leaning back to leaning in

survey checkbox poll 01 canvasIn the latest RAIN Poll, we asked readers to vote their preference: lean back, or lean in? Lean-back listening includes Internet radio generally, Pandora as the leading brand, and all online listening that enables one-click launch of a music stream. (And, of course, AM/FM radio.) Lean-in listening includes jukebox services like Spotify, Rhapsody, and Rdio, which enable searching for music and building personalized playlists.

There was no majority opinion in the poll results. Forty-three percent of voters chose lean-back listening, against a 13% preference for leaning in. That makes sense, insofar as lean-in music discovery and library-building takes more effort.

Another option — “Some of both” — offered voters an easy way to reflect the reality of choosing among many services with different feature sets. Forty-three percent of voters opted for that diplomatic choice — exactly the same number as the lean-back tally. (Participants could choose only one option, and could vote only once.)

The poll allowed comments. Here are excerpts:

  • Depends on the device: “Lean in on tablet or PC, lean back on phone.”
  • Traditionalism: “Real regular radio!! And that is not the same as Pandora.”
  • Specifics: “Radio Paradise is the best!”
  • It’s more about the content: “Both my ‘lean back’ and ‘lean in’ choices have to include good classical music, which is often hard to find!”

Arguably, the industry trend is to mash up lean-back listening with lean-in music discovery. The recently-launched Beats Music, which combines jukebox features with hundreds of curated streams, seems to invite subscribers to expend exactly the amount of effort suits their taste, and the result is always a stream of music.

Brad Hill