Don’t Panic at the Disco — Findings From a New Music Discovery Survey

This project explores the many ways in which new music and artists are discovered by the everyday listener. A music engagement survey was created to find out how people discover new music in the digital age. 114 people took part.

About one billion people and counting stream music online, ( 616 million people/businesses pay for subscriptions and the rest stream free). And with around 263 years worth of content on Spotify alone, how does someone new get noticed?

The music industry is rapidly evolving, with the digital age and individual tastes being one of the primary drivers of change in music consumption and discovery. I was curious about how people find new music in the age of over-saturated content.

During my quantitative class, I created an online Google Survey, open to friends, fellow students and anybody online.

This project aims to:

Understand how individuals discover and engage with new music.

Analyze the role of various music discovery channels, trusted sources, and artist-related factors.


Survey Design:

The survey was structured to collect meaningful data. It encompassed a variety of question types to capture the richness of responses, including multiple-choice questions, Likert scale inquiries, and open-ended prompts.

The survey commenced by gathering basic demographic information from participants. This data, including age, gender, and location, was essential for segmenting responses across different age groups, allowing for nuanced analysis.

Music Discovery Methods: Respondents were asked about the ways they discover new music. This section inquired about the usage of streaming platforms, recommendations from friends, radio, podcasts, and more, offering a panoramic view of modern music discovery practices.

To understand the credibility of various sources in music discovery, the survey explored the extent to which individuals trust platforms, influencers, music experts, and the role of algorithms in shaping their music choices.

Participants shared their preferred music genres and elaborated on the factors that influenced their musical inclinations, thereby unveiling the intricate interplay between personal tastes and external influences.

Beyond passive listening, the survey examined how frequently respondents engaged with music, whether through attending live events, purchasing music, or contributing to music-related communities.

Data Collection:

Data collection was carried out anonymously through an online survey platform. The survey was disseminated across various social media platforms, including Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Survey Circle. This diverse distribution strategy ensured the inclusion of a wide-ranging pool of respondents from different backgrounds and age groups.

3. Survey Findings

A total of 114 respondents completed the survey.

Gender was evenly split

There were answers from many Generations

Individuals from Fourteen Countries took part

How People Discover New Music/Artists

83 or 72.3% Use Online Streaming Platforms

81 or 71.1% Get Recommendations From Friends

65 or 57% Use Social Media 65/57%

49 or 45% Listen to the Radio

35 or 30.7% Read Music Blogs Online Magazines

How People Discover New Music/Artists:

Online Streaming Platforms: A significant majority of respondents, 83 individuals or 72.3%, rely on online streaming platforms to discover new music and artists. This highlights the central role of digital platforms in contemporary music discovery.

Recommendations From Friends: Approximately 81 respondents or 71.1% reported that they frequently get music recommendations from friends, underlining the enduring influence of personal networks in music discovery.

Social Media: Social media platforms play a substantial role in music discovery, with 65 individuals or 57% utilizing them to find new music or artists. This finding underscores the power of online communities and influencers in shaping musical preferences.

Radio: Nearly half of the respondents, 49 individuals or 45%, still turn to traditional radio for music discovery, highlighting the continued relevance of this medium in introducing new music to audiences.

Music Blogs/Online Magazines: Approximately 35 respondents or 30.7% reported reading music blogs and online magazines as a method for discovering new music/artists, showcasing the importance of written content in music exploration.

Learning About New Artists

92 or 80.7% By Exploring Their Discography

84 or 73.7% by Watching Their Music Videos

61 or 53.5% by Attending Their Concerts

55 or 48.2% Reading Interviews/Articles

45 or 39.5% By Following their Social Media

Learning About New Artists:

Exploring Their Discography: An overwhelming majority of respondents, 92 individuals or 80.7%, prefer to learn about new artists by exploring their discography, indicating that diving into an artist’s body of work is a primary means of getting acquainted with their music.

Watching Their Music Videos: About 84 respondents or 73.7% stated that they discover new artists by watching their music videos, highlighting the visual component’s significance in artist exposure.

Attending Their Concerts: A substantial portion, 61 individuals or 53.5%, learn about new artists by attending their concerts, underlining the importance of live experiences in artist discovery.

Reading Interviews/Articles: Approximately 55 respondents or 48.2% indicated that they learn about new artists by reading interviews and articles about them, emphasizing the role of media coverage in artist promotion.

Following Their Social Media: About 45 respondents or 39.5% reported that they discover new artists by following their social media profiles, indicating that artists’ online presence and engagement are pivotal in reaching and engaging with audiences.

These findings provide valuable insights into the diverse methods people employ to discover and learn about new music/artists. They showcase the coexistence of traditional and digital channels and highlight the significance of personal recommendations, online platforms, and visual/audiovisual content in shaping individuals’ musical journeys.

Online Platforms Most Used

Unsurprisingly, a high percentage of participants use music streaming platforms, to hear new music. They also use Youtube and Bandcamp.

79% Use the music streaming giants as their way of finding new artists.

63% Use YouTube, which is of no surprise, mostly.

24% Use Bandcamp, which has an excellent pay-what-you-like button, that artists can use if they like.


In this era of unprecedented musical abundance, the key to success for emerging artists is ubiquity. Making music accessible across all available platforms becomes paramount. From uploading high-fidelity tracks to streaming services to creating engaging music videos on platforms like YouTube, artists must employ a multi-pronged approach. This includes grassroots promotion, poster campaigns, tours and active engagement with radio stations. By leveraging the full spectrum of promotional avenues, artists endeavor to ensure that their unique sounds resonate and reach the eager ears of potential fans.


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