Everybody knows that MTV has its roots in music, but perhaps more importantly, today’s MTV audience remains passionate about the role music plays in their lives.

To explore this relationship in more depth, MTV Knowing Youth partnered with the MTV US research group and Ipsos globally to create a new and exciting summary of how the MTV audience consume and discover music today.

Music listening is a regular activity for Millennials globally.  92% have participated in some form of music activity in the last month and we also know that music continues to be extremely important in young people’s lives:

•  74% have a strong interest in music
•  64% see musical taste as something that helps them connect with other people

Top music-related activities in which they are most involved include a mix of social, digital and traditional media:

•  Listening/watching via social networks
•  Listening via free streaming services
•  Listening on radio
•  Watching on TV (by which we mean music videos and not singing/dancing talent shows or background music in other programs)

These four activities are all undertaken at least monthly by at least half of all Millennials.

Music consumption is largely free, though pay services are gradually establishing themselves.  While 54% say they listen to free streaming and 47% download music without paying, only 18% have paid to either stream or download music in the last month.

Live music still important. 56% of Millennials globally have attended a music concert in the last year, and 48% have attended a festival.  So “live”, despite digital, is still massively important to them and 1 in 3 say they are going to more live music events now than before.

Increasingly close relationship between artist and listener. Millennials are pragmatic, only paying for music when they feel they need to (for example, eliminating ads from streaming).  However, sometimes there is emotional in play:  81% say “the closer I feel to an artist, the more likely I am to support that artist by purchasing music”.  Although music is increasingly available through legal free sources, 68% believe in paying for music out of respect to artists who they truly value:  “it’s like I’m doing them a favor, it’s the right thing to do”.

Artists today can generate a strong sense of connection and make themselves “worth paying for” through the medium of social networks.  Today’s listeners are looking for “total interaction”;  and networks like Facebook and Twitter allow listeners to think of the artist as “friend”, with the most successful “relationships” built on digital conversations which go two ways.  76% for example say “I feel a stronger connection to musicians who are open about who they are.“

So music is still powerful – but the power has changed.  It isn’t something that’s given to you by the artist – it’s something you take and bring into your own world.

Friends are the greatest source of music discovery while social media helps facilitate. Due to the importance young people place on music in their lives, they are very active in their quest to keep on discovering new music. Technology makes this much easier than in the past and effectively enables self-expression. But technology itself isn’t an influencer but rather / merely a facilitator of music discovery (often in the form of social media). What drives and influences discovery is more word of mouth among friends:

•  80% of Millennials say “my friends are the best network I have when it comes to finding new music”
•  76% of Millennials say “I trust my friends’ music recommendations because they’re customized just for me

Given the explosion in access, choice could become bewildering and so in this context friends can help cut through the clutter – which makes them an even more important source than in the past. However, social media plays an undeniably key role in helping to spread the word – and it’s not just through friends sharing opinions or links.

•  9 out of 10 of the most ‘liked’ celebrity pages on Facebook are musicians
•  9 out of 10 of the most watched videos on YouTube are music videos.