Looks like MP3s, CDs and even digital music files are outdated as youngsters are now listening to their favourite music on video-sharing website YouTube and music streaming service Spotify, Finnish researchers report.
Economically speaking, both CDs and digital downloads will be dead in some years, they said.
In a survey of over 600 young adults, the team from Aalto University found that 76 percent of respondents listened to music from YouTube every day.
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YouTube and Spotify were by far the most popular music sources. YouTube was the most frequently used service for music listening and new music discovery.
Even active Spotify users visited YouTube often to complement Spotify's incomplete music selection.
YouTube was also perceived as the most shareable music source by the Finnish students in their early 20s who participated in the internet-based study.
"The popularity of YouTube is overwhelming. Nearly everyone uses it for listening to music," said lead researcher Lassi A Liikkanen.
"YouTube has transformed the digital media world and the practices of music listening. For the first time, we now have a scientific record of the big change that has taken place," Liikkanen explained.
This study describes a transition from the first generation of digital music to a second generation solution, from file downloads to streamings.
It is not only about the videos.
Researchers 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," Liikkanen pointed out in a paper that appeared in the journal Interacting with Computers.