April 22, 2021

Annual Research Study of Contemporary Music Reveals Consumer Tastes Nearly Froze During the Pandemic

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, April 22, 2021 – Coleman Insights revealed findings today from its third annual Contemporary Music SuperStudy, which examined the appetites for contemporary music among 1,000 12- to 54-year-olds across the United States and Canada. The benchmark study evaluated the most consumed songs of the previous year to provide the most comprehensive assessment of consumers’ appetites for new music available to audio-based media companies. The initial findings were announced at the virtual All Access Audio Summit.

Contemporary Music SuperStudy 3 demonstrated how contemporary music tastes were impacted in 2020, a year in which the normal rhythms of life were upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. In many ways, tastes were frozen in time. The best-testing song, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, was also last year’s best-testing song. “Baby Shark” by Pinkfong was again the least liked song. Six of the Top 10 songs were in last year’s Top 10. Post Malone remained the most prolific artist with the most songs (six) in the Top 100.

“I felt a bit like Phil Connors in Groundhog Day when analyzing this year’s study,” said Executive Vice President/Senior Consultant John Boyne, who led the project for Coleman Insights. “In many ways, the freezing of music tastes makes sense. There were fewer new releases, no concerts, and consumers craved familiar things.” Boyne continued, “Even still, to have the same top and bottom songs one year and a thousand surveys later is quite remarkable. You could say ‘Shape Of You’ is this year’s comfort food.”

Contemporary Music SuperStudy 3 employed Coleman Insights’ FACT360SM Strategic Music Test platform to gather listener evaluations of the most consumed songs of 2020—via radio airplay, streaming and sales—as measured by MRC Data.

Coleman Insights will release more findings over the next few weeks in its Tuesdays With Coleman blog, followed by the Contemporary Music SuperStudy 3 Deep Dive webinar on Thursday, May 13th at 2PM EDT/11AM PDT. The webinar will cover additional findings including how appetites for different genres of new music have shifted in the past year and how those appetites vary by age, gender, ethnicity, geography, and platform usage Registration is now open for the webinar here.

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