Study finds consumers value audio quality (given the right language)

MusicWatch survey CES 2016MusicWatch has shared research into consumer sentiment about what listeners want in a music streaming subscription. When asked what feature would encourage them to pay for their tunes, far and away the top answer was control over a completely on-demand service at 39%. However, 11% said “sound quality as good as the recording studio.” According to MusicWatch Managing Partner Russ Crupnick, that’s an estimated 25 million people voicing willingness to pay for better audio.

“Consumers who value sound quality and are willing to pay for a premium experience are younger, more affluent and much more engaged in music buying and listening, which makes them a perfect target group for the music industry and supporting tech companies,” Crupnick said.

One of the most interesting facets to the results was that while “recording studio” quality clocked in second, the option of sound that’s “better than MP3; as good as CD or vinyl” would only motivate 6% to upgrade to paying customers. Crupnick interpreted this as a sign that highly technical jargon may not be the best way to explain the benefits or features of better-quality audio.

The survey respondents were people using a free music service. It also asked them to rank the features they’d want to see in their perfect music platform. Free listening took the top spot, but sound quality was still in the mix along with offering a variety of music and car connectivity.

Anna Washenko