Who listens to What and How in Norway

Together with the University of Oslo and WIMP, Telenor took part in a research project “Clouds & Concerts”, looking into music streaming habits of WIMP music service users in Norway during the past two years. The results confirmed that the way Norwegians consume digital music has changed during the last years.

Cassette player, CD player, MP3 player: it’s all in a mobile phone

“The Mobile phone has become the preferred streaming device. 60 per cent of streams are now played on a mobile phone, compared to 35 per cent in 2010,” says Arnt Maasø, Associate Professor at the Media and Communication Department of the University of Oslo and one of the participants in the project. Android phones have had tremendous growth, with streaming on this operative system in 2012 getting twice as high as in 2011. However, iPhone and iPad users were early digital music consumers and the iOS (operating system used on iPhone and iPad) still leads: 41% vs. 19% on Android.

Don’t stop the music

Norwegians listen to music all day long. During the working hours, from 9 am to 3 pm, they rather stream music from their computers, while mobile phone takes over around 3 pm and prevails for the rest of the afternoon, peaking at the time when the majority commutes, making the bus or train ride more fun with headphones on. In the evenings, at home, computers strike back. Somewhere around 10 pm seems to be the best time to explore music and create play lists, and weekends in general.

More search

“Search is getting more important and it’s used more often on mobile than on pc or mac. That is partly because it is so easy on both IOS and Android, thanks to so called “predictive search”. When searching in WIMP on iPhone, it is enough to type in one letter and you will get suggestions for titles, or artists’ names, on Android the suggestions come after three letters. Anyway, it makes it very easy,” Arnt explains. There is a noticeable preference for search among younger people. The research also shows that those who search a lot, also stream much more.

New devices, old stereotypes

Although the devices and the way we listen to music is changing, we’re still frighteningly predictable when it comes to taste for music, genders and age. The majority of avid pop listeners are female, while the majority of listeners who have a strong preference for rock and metal are male.

Someone would argue that it has to do with female nature and need for change or surprise; true or not, we can see that women are less likely to listen to a stream of songs from within the same album than men, and more women listen to songs in ‘shuffle mode’ or in a ‘random‘ sequence.

Those who listen to rock music could also be seen as “old school” types, with tendency to stick to one album more often than listeners of most other genres, especially dance. Most of jazz, folk and classical music listeners are in the age group above 45, and tend to be even more album oriented than rock listeners.

Customers’ consumption of digital services

Music is the first type of content that most people start to consume digitally.

“This research enables us to foresee the patterns in digital consumption of other types of content, like video,” says Arnt, emphasizing that we can expect to find many of the same effects as the ones we experience with music streaming. But there are also clear exceptions. For instance, WiMP users tend not to switch device within a listening session, whereas many users of video streaming tend to start on one device and finish on another, according to studies by Google and Netflix.

“Understanding how music is consumed is highly important for Telenor,” says Johannes Bjelland, one of Telenor’s research scientists involved in the project. Music services are part of our offering to customers, currently through WIMP in the Nordic countries and Deezer in CEE and Asia, often bundled in packages with voice and data. Insight into music consumption is also useful for proper planning of data traffic and networks. For Telenor this will remain an interesting topic that we intend to analyse more, together with Digital Services,” Johannes said.

New research from “Clouds & Concerts” will be conducted in the autumn this year, while the results can be expected at the beginning of 2014.

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