Dolby survey reveals the music trends of 2021

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Let’s face it. This year and last year have been the strangest years in recent memory. A lot has gone down, from riots to pandemics, and many people sought out some mental relief from it all. Music is one of those mental medications that doesn’t require a prescription and isn’t illegal to ingest.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

So Dolby set out to find out just what the music trends in the United States were over the past year. The company surveyed people in the United States to determine what kind of music trends took hold over the populace during these crazy times. This is what they found.

Dolby Survey

music stress relief Dolby survey reveals the music trends of 2021

“Music fills our lives with moments of joy and has been a way to escape the challenges we have faced over the past two years. This has driven changes in consumer behavior, such as the revival of music from past decades to the prioritization of better-quality experiences that allow listeners to connect more deeply with their favorite artists and songs,” said John Couling, Senior Vice President of Entertainment at Dolby Laboratories. “As we look to the future, we expect these influences to have a lasting impact over how we enjoy music.”

The US-based survey, conducted by OnePoll in November 2021, polled 2,000 general population adults who regularly listen to music for at least one hour per day. The survey examined their listening behavior, purchase decisions, and habits formed from the COVID-19 pandemic.

People in the U.S. are feeling nostalgic based on their choices in music
A number of respondents feel like they were born in the wrong era because of their taste in music, which was highest among Gen Z. This has led to the increased popularity of iconic songs and artists being rediscovered or discovered for the first time.

Dolby Press Release
  • Over two-thirds spend more time listening to music each day than before the start of 2020, with over half listening to music four hours per day or more.
  • 55% indicated that they spend more money on music purchases each month than at the start of 2020.  
  • Among those who pay for a music streaming plan, nearly 90% agreed that enhanced audio quality is a “must-have” feature of their subscription, of which more than half strongly agreed.  
    • Of this group, 82% have upgraded, changed subscriptions, or explicitly paid for a service because it offered better audio quality.
  • Nearly two-thirds who pay for a music streaming subscription indicated that better sound quality was more important than other features such as ad-free listening, exclusive content, or the ability to add multiple users to their account.
  • Over 70% surveyed are likely or very likely to purchase a new audio device specifically to enhance their experience when listening to music within the next six months.  
  • Preference for better audio quality was notably high among Gen Z:
    • Nearly half of Gen Z who pay for a music streaming subscription want access to the latest cutting-edge audio technologies with their plan.
    • 86% of Gen Z surveyed are likely to purchase a new audio device in the next six months to get better audio quality when enjoying music.
  • Respondents would rather have better audio quality when enjoying music over other forms of entertainment like playing video games or watching movies, TV, or even sports.  ·                 
  • Comparing various types of in-car entertainment, most see the biggest opportunity for enhancing the listening experience when enjoying music in the car (43%), followed by audiobooks and podcasts (23%).
  • More than two-thirds stated they were very interested or somewhat interested in a new technology that lets them experience music more deeply when driving.  
Dolby survey reveals the music trends of 2021

Dolby Survey Methodology

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population adults in the U.S. was commissioned by Dolby between November 10 and November 122021. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

Those are some pretty interesting stats. Be sure to check out these tips from Dolby on how to throw the ultimate outdoor movie night.

What do you think of this Dolby survey? How has music played a role in your life this past year? Have you found yourself listening more? Buying more? Please share your thoughts on any of the social media pages listed below. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.

Dolby music trends
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