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MP3 Vs. Satellite Radio Users: Younger, About As Wealthy

Satellite radio listeners are generally older than MP3 player listeners but about as wealthy, according to an NPD Music Lab survey.

The survey also found that:

  • Both types of listeners are more likely to buy CDs than their terrestrial-radio counterparts.
  • Satellite-radio listeners download music more than terrestrial-radio listeners, but not as often as MP3 player listeners.

The results come from Music Labs’ March online survey of 4,500 people about their music buying and listening habits.

“Satellite radio skews more teen than regular radio listeners but not as teen as the MP3 player market,” said NPD’s senior account manager Isaac Josephson. The results also indicate that “satellite radio isn’t cutting into CD” because satellite listeners are “actively involved in music,” whether via CD purchasing, peer-to-peer downloads or authorized downloads, he said.

The survey, conducted every two months, found that 49.9 percent of MP3 player listeners were between the ages of 13 and 25, while only 26.4 percent of satellite-radio listeners were in that age group. At age 26, satellite-radio gets the upper hand, with 23 percent of satellite listeners being in the 26-35 age range, compared to only 19.7 percent of MP3 users.

Satellite radio establishes clear supremacy with people ages 36 and up. All told, almost 51 percent of satellite radio listeners are ages 36 and up, while only 30.4 percent of MP3 users were in that age group.

The income levels of MP3 and satellite-radio listeners are roughly similar, the survey also found. Almost 34 percent of satellite radio listeners have incomes up to $44,000, compared to almost 31 percent of MP3 player users. Thirty-nine percent of satellite listeners and 38 percent of MP3 listeners have incomes of $45,000 to $99,000. Surprisingly, 31 percent of MP3 users have incomes of $100,000 or more, while only 27 percent of satellite listeners are in that income bracket.

When it comes to buying CDs, satellite radio listeners are paradoxically among the heaviest buyers of CDs and among the least likely buyers, the survey found. Almost 26 percent of satellite listeners bought seven or more CDs in the prior six months, compared to 21 percent of MP3 listeners who bought that many discs. In contrast, 29 percent of satellite listeners didn’t buy any CDs in the prior six months, compared to 22.5 percent of MP3 users who didn’t buy CDs during that time.

Satellite radio listeners were almost as likely as terrestrial-radio listeners to forego CD purchases, the survey found. A total of 32 percent of traditional radio listeners didn’t buy a CD in the previous six months.

Who Listens To What

Percentage of groups who listened to following sources in previous 4 weeks

How Music Listeners Acquire Music

Downloading, CD-buying habits of people who listened to following 3 sources in previous 4 weeks