AUSTIN, Texas -- The most serious of fans can spend upward of $422 per year on music in the U.S., according to the results of a new report from Nielsen Entertainment released today at South by Southwest. Those who can be classified as music fans, Nielsen proclaimed, account for nearly 75% of all music spending in the U.S.
There is a catch: The most avid of fans in Nielsen's sampling of 4,000 consumers downloaded the most tracks for free, approximately 30 in a year. What's more, those classified as "music fans" account for just 40% of the music-buying public in America.
Nielsen has identified three core consumer categories. The "aficionado" is willing to spend more than $422 per year on music, concerts and artist merch, and does so via sites such as iTunes, Amazon and indie outlets. The "digital fan" was determined to spend about $363 per year and views a smartphone or tablet as the entertainment hub. Finally, the "big box" fan shops at mass retailers, is partial to pop and country and spends, on average, $196 per year on music.
Less engaged consumers still spend on music. Occasional concertgoers, ambivalent music consumers and background music consumers were found to frequent discovery sites such as Pandora and were willing to spend between $44 and $121 per year on music. The concert attendee, of course, spent the most.