In a recent survey 76% of young respondents listened to music from YouTube every day with Spotify coming in second. But YouTube is so popular for music listening and new music discovery that even active Spotify users still visited YouTube often to complement Spotify’s incomplete music selection. 

YouTube was also perceived as the most shareable music source by the students in their early 20s who participated in a recent Internet-based study.

That is a much different perception of YouTube, which is regarded as a video-sharing service. And it spells the end for .mp3 that everyone wants to consume but so few young people buy.   Instead of being video-oriented, young people use it to listen to music, according to Aalto University scholars.   

"It’s not only about the videos. We believe that at least in a solitary YouTube music listening context, the video is secondary to audio. We ran an experiment to evaluate this and found that our participants evaluated their musical experience similarly, regardless of the presence of accompanying picture. This provokes many questions for future research," says Dr. Lassi A. Liikkanen of the survey of 600 young Finns.

This study describes a transition from the first generation of digital music to a second generation solution, from file downloads to streaming.

"The change has already happened for the people under 30. We expect that the rest of the population will follow. The transition is of course not clear cut. Our results show that people will return to their CD’s and MP3 files at times, but they are not getting new content this way. This means that economically speaking, both CD and digital downloads will be dead in a matter of years," Liikkanen said. Liikkanen and Aalto University doctorate student Pirkka Åman also documented the slow evolution of music listening interfaces. The way consumers listen to music with these second generation of digital music services has not changed much even though the list of most popular services constantly changes.

"Streaming music services also require searching for music and creating playlists. Digital services have offered new types of radio experiences, but the future lies in hybrid systems that combine human preferences with intelligent recommendations," said Åman.

Citation: Liikkanen L.&Åman P. Shuffling services - Current trends in interacting with digital music. Interacting with Computers. Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/iwc/iwv004