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«Kate Totaro An honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science Undergraduate College Leonard ...»

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Displayability DG: It’s just like one of those things you do when you have a new friend or you’re going to your friend’s apartment for the first time. If they have their CD shelf out, you go over immediately and judge them. One of my close friends who had never been to my apartment was like, “Alright, let’s look through your CDs.” DG: It [displaying CDs] was like really cool in middle school, then it lost its appeal.

MC: iTunes works really well now. People kind of just look through your iTunes now to make their judgments.

AO: DVDs are more prominently displayed now than CDs. Like if people have Scarface and Godfather, they just put it out there.

Safety (Perceived Permanence) AY: I want the physical item, because what if your computer crashes and you lose everything?

Pricing KT: What if CDs were $5-6? Would you buy more?

MN [in response to KT]: Oh yeah!

MC [in response to KT]: I would buy so many! I would start buying CDs like wild.

DG [in response to KT]: Definitely.

Alternative Entertainment Products (Competition) MN: I mean, I used to display CDs, now it’s just movies.

KT: So do you guys buy things like DVDs?

DG [in response to KT]: DVD buying has replaced CD buying for me.

KT: So you would go out and buy a DVD that you’ve never seen?

MN [in response to KT]: Oh yeah.

AY [in response to KT]: When you get it off of Amazon, you can buy it for like $10, only twice the price of renting it, and if you like it, you’re going to have to buy it anyway.

DG [in response to KT]: I think, like we were talking about before, the display value has gone up on the DVD. I mean, I don’t think 10 years ago people our age were displaying their videocassettes, but everybody wants to see the DVDs.

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4.1.5 MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS The focus group allowed me to hone my survey questions as well as gain several unanticipated, qualitative opinions on music consumption. Specifically, without the focus group, I would have never anticipated the “perceived replacement” of CDs by DVDs or the strong price elasticity voiced by a few of the participants. The group also allowed me to go in-depth about motivations for consumption such as convenience, perceived expertise, and artist loyalty.

4.1.6 LIMITATIONS The focus group, while extremely helpful, was limited by the potential interference of social desirability biases. Additionally, because the participants were simply a convenient sample, they may not have been representative of a larger population. For future research, multiple focus groups, some of which are targeted by music consumption preferences, should be conducted in order to gain further insight and delve deeper into the drivers of consumption patters.

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The internet based survey (hosted on Surveymonkey.com) was conducted over a period of 10 days during February 2006. The purpose of the survey was to gain insight into both the prevalence of tangible music purchases as well as the driving factors in both digital and tangible music consumption among a sample student population.

4.2.2 CONJECTURE/PREDICTION I predict that the market for tangible music will be small but important in the student population and that the small populous committed to tangible music will be fervent in their dedication to the format. In fact, I predict an 80/20 relationship in which approximately 20% of the student population will account for a disproportionately high amount of tangible music revenue. Additionally, I predict that the loyalty of the small population will certainly warrant an argument for the future survival of the tangible music format. Despite capturing only a small percentage of the student market, tangible music will remain strong in a very dedicated, music loving population.

–  –  –

Using input from the focus group, I crafted questions to measure music preferences, purchase intent and behavior, and attitudes towards music and alternative entertainment products. I created the internet based survey on Surveymonkey.com and disseminated it to students across NYU and other (limited) universities. The questions varied in format including fill-in, free response, multiple choice, and rating scales. For rating questions, a nine point Likert scale was used to measure agreement/disagreement with opinion statements.

Below are a few sample questions. (A full list of questions and aggregate responses are provided in Appendix A.)

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Purchasing Intent/Behavior “Purchasing”: Does not include downloading music but instead constitutes purchase of a physical CD from a store, the internet, or mail order service.

Approximately how many compact discs (CDs) do you currently own? ____ Approximately how many CDs do you purchase a month? ____

–  –  –

Alternate Entertainment If you were given $100 per month to spend on personal entertainment (not including social entertainment such as going out to a movie, restaurant, club, etc.) how would you allocate your budget across the following categories? You can spend anywhere from $0-$100 on a category. Remember, your total must add up to $100.

–  –  –

The survey was disseminated through various university list serves and was aimed at current university students (for reasons discussed above). While the majority of respondents were current NYU students (131), there were several (46) non-NYU student respondents. Other schools represented in the survey included University of Michigan, Penn State University, Wake Forest University, and Westchester University to name a few. The motivation behind opening the survey to other university students was to lessen or eliminate any particular biases that NYU students as a whole may hold. A detailed description of the 186 respondents’ demographics can be found in Appendix A.





–  –  –

The survey revealed many interesting attributes of student music consumption. The mean number of CDs owned was approximately 150 per person, the mean hours of music listened to per day was approximately 3.3 hours, and the estimated mean spent on CDs per month was $26.

While multiple types of analysis can be performed on the results obtained, I focused my studies on four major areas: analysis of student music consumption patterns and motivations, identification of attributes that differentiate tangible music from digital music, examination of price elasticity of tangible music demand, and investigation of student demand for alternative entertainment products.

4.2.5.1 STUDENT MUSIC CONSUMPTION PATTERNS & MOTIVATIONS With regard to music consumption patters and motivations, my goal with the survey was to determine who was purchasing/downloading, with what prevalence, and why?

To answer the “who” I first ran single and multiple regressions comparing the dependent variable “likelihood of CD purchase” with independent variables such as age, income, and hours of music listening. None of the independent variables were statistically significant. In fact, all of the tests produced R-squareds that were not statistically significant. To remedy this predictability situation, I created visuals to compare attitudes and purchase intent.

The figure below compares two attitudinal questions in order to determine if importance of a student’s music collection is correlated to their likelihood of future CD purchase. The figure is arranged such that the size of the circles indicate the approximate number of respondents in each category; for instance, there were 4 respondents who “strongly disagreed” with the music importance statement and said that the likelihood of CD purchase in the next month was “no chance”. (The names applied to each quadrant are simply meant to facilitate reference and only represent rough groupings of respondents.) As this figure interestingly indicates, there is a large population of students who value their music collection and have a low likelihood of purchasing a CD in the next month. I have loosely categorized and termed these individuals “Digital Superstars”. Because of this seeming paradox of music importance and lack of tangible purchases, it can be inferred that these respondents are active in the digital music world, utilizing both free and for purchase digital music. The other interesting category that stands out from this figure is the group in the lower right hand quadrant that I have termed the “CD Junkies”. These individuals—while obviously less numerous than their “Digital Superstar” counterparts— represent a small but fervent population of music and tangible product enthusiasts. In fact, the size of the group of respondents who “strongly agreed” that their music collection was important and were “very likely” to purchase a CD in the next month is approximately equal to the size of the group on the other extreme (“strongly agree” and “no chance”). In my opinion, the size of “very likely” purchasers is large enough (and far enough to the right) to legitimize the future existence of a tangible music market among the student demographic. Additionally, (as I have indicated with the red arrows) with the advent of increased availability and quality of digital products, it can be inferred that the tangible market will loose some demand from those consumers on the cusp (“4” in likelihood) but will remain relevant because of the strength of extreme “CD Junkies”.

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to the one described above, but plotted respondents’ attitudes towards free downloading versus their likelihood of purchase. Here, again, the quadrant names aid in reference and are only rough descriptions of attitudes of the groups. Again, in this examination, the relevance of CD purchasers is considerable, with “CD Purists” making-up almost 20% of the sample. While the fervent CD purchasers are more dispersed in their attitudes toward free downloading than they were in their attitudes towards music importance, their relevance is still felt. Additionally, what this figure lends insight into is the size and strength of the “Sneaky Downloaders”. What this indicates—and may contradict the arrows described in the above figure—is that the majority of non-CD purchasers do not feel right about downloading, but do it for other reasons, perhaps monetary constraints or ease of accessibility. This disagreement with the “rightfulness” of downloading may, in fact, lead to a small shift rightward as indicated by the arrow below.

–  –  –

downloaders, the majority of who value their music collections; yet, there is also a small but dedicated population of CD enthusiasts. While I predict that the arrows moving CD purchasers towards digital products are most likely stronger than the arrow moving “Sneaky Downloaders” to “CD Purists”, it is still interesting to note the feeling of wrongdoing that many of the downloaders acknowledge.

These two above figures give us insight into the “who” and the “how prevalent”, while the next section will touch on the “why”. Before moving on to the “why”, I would first like to address the “why nots” for CD purchase. The most prevalent (and perhaps the most obvious) reason cited by respondents for not purchasing CDs (and in most cases, downloading instead) was the economic factor, price. A few respondents were quoted as to why price so strongly

affects their downloading:

Lowering the price of CDs is most likely to get me to buy more. I am also willing to buy CDs if the entire CD is amazing, not just one or two songs, so very high quality music would lead me to buy more CDs. The only way I would start paying for downloaded music is if it became impossible to download music for free.

I download illegally because I can’t afford all the music I want to hear and I have no other way of learning about different bands and expanding my musical knowledge.

Other often cited factors for not buying CDs and instead downloading music include: availability of rare tracks, lack of enforcement against illegal downloading, and convenience.

This section has touched on the “who”, “how prevalent” and “why not” of student music consumption. The following section will delve deeper into the precise attributes that differentiate tangible music from downloadable music.

4.2.5.2 THE UTILITY OF TANGIBLE MUSIC From my study it has become clear that there are perceived differences between tangible and digital music among student consumers. In the below analysis I have categorized some of the most prevalently cited attributes that differentiate tangible products, the “why” of tangible music consumption.

–  –  –

The most often noted differentiating attribute of tangible music is that of authenticity.

Authenticity can mean a lot of different things to different consumers. For some, authenticity is the honoring of artistic intent. As one respondent noted, “The album is a complete package;

every song is preserved the way it was supposed to be heard.” Another described owning a CD as a “shrine to a favorite artist”; a sign for them to continue in their art.

Authenticity can also mean personal or social validation. One particular respondent description that painted a very clear picture of the importance of authenticity is the following

response drawn directly from the survey:



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