The Resurgence of Vinyl and Music Involvement
There are numerous indications of the return of vinyl. A new industry is resurfacing and suggesting a possible “new” income stream for musicians and labels, as last year 10 million album units were sold in the USA.
From a purely marketing perspective, it represents an exciting change in behavior from consumers demanding a tangible consumption after years of intangible music consumption mainly through mobile devices.
Normally consumers with a greater need and willingness to to pay more to consume products on tangible formats that are also available intangibly tend to display similar characteristics: For example, greater involvement with the product type or motivation to consumer.
But music is a very interesting case. Mobile devices allows the convenience of carrying and listening to an infinitely greater amount of songs. Thus, consuming music through streaming would not necessarily mean that consumers are more or less involved with music than vinyl buys, would it?
And the resurgence of vinyl has triggered interesting questions:
Who are these vinyl consumers? Are they more involved with music than, for example, streaming listeners?
Results of our Recent Study
Recently we developed a structured survey to measured, among many other factors, the involvement with music of vinyl buyers and streaming users.
But one can be both a vinyl buyer and a streaming user, right? Right! So for the interpretation of results please the following into consideration: The filtering question used to define respondents from each group asked participants which of the two formats best described their relationship with music.
In total, there were 898 respondents (727 streaming users and 171 vinyl buyers). Involvement was measured through a previously validated 5-point Likert scale.
Results indicated a high involvement with music from both groups: 4,01 (Streaming users) and 4,11 (vinyl buyers). But most importantly, a further independent sample t-test revealed no significant difference between the two groups.
Furthermore we investigated their differences through a scale of “Need for rare Objects”. this construct refers to one’s desire to obtain products that are unconventional or different from normal purchase trends.
This type of unconventional consumption behaviors are commonly associated with vinyl buyers: individuals who seek distinctiveness.
“Need for Rare Objects” was also measured through a 5-point Likert scale and the results are truly surprising. Although it was expected that vinyl buyers would have a significantly need for rare objects, the results indicated exactly the opposite.
Results from the independent samples t-Test revealed that streaming users (mean=3,78) had a significantly higher need for rare objects than vinyl buyers (mean=3,38).
Thus, we cannot assume that people buying vinyls are more involved with music. Neither can we say that vinyl buyers seek greater distinction through their purchases when compared to streaming users. And there are many reasons to understand why.
Understanding the Results
Mobile devices have impacted behavior due, among other factors, its incredible convenience to problem solve. We can book plane tickets, make purchases, do online banking or check weather updates through a same screen anywhere and anytime.
Personally, I believe the amazing convenience it allows influences buyers to compromise their personal beliefs. Perhaps vinyl buyers would be traditionally consumers with a greater level of involvement with music, thus desiring to have physical contact with the product and a more intimate experiential consumption.
Furthermore, this would represent having a much smaller offer to listen. Without a doubt, the possibility of having “infinite” offer of music, anywhere at anytime for less than 10 dollars or Euros per month is incredibly tempting. Especially when devices and headphones have improved exponentially and sound quality has reached astonishing levels.
So it is time to change the your misconceptions.
Streaming users are not people do who care less about music.
The times are changing.
To finish the article, the master himself playing “The Times They are a-Changin'” (Bob Dylan).