CMA Announces Key Consumer Research Findings During Member Webinar

CMA Announces Key Consumer Research Findings During Member Webinar

Results of Study Released Weekly in May

NASHVILLE – CMA, Country Music’s premier trade association, released key findings Tuesday from an extensive consumer research initiative: “Understanding Today’s Shifting Consumer Landscape and Changing Country Music Audiences, Music Choices, and Behaviors.”

The results are being made available to CMA members during weekly one-hour webinars in May. The theme Tuesday was “Tomorrow’s Music Consumer and Emerging Behaviors.”

“Evolving consumer trends will undoubtedly have an impact on the genre and how future audiences for the format will engage with Country Music,” said Karen Stump, CMA Sr. Director of Market Research. “The series will focus on how those shifts will potentially impact music behaviors and preferences.”

The Takeaways:

  1. The Country Music audience continues to gain popularity across the board with the fastest growth in listeners occurring among non-whites, Hispanics, and Millennials

o   Since 2010, the Country Music format has seen a 25 percent increase in Hispanic listeners compared to a 7 percent growth among non-Hispanic, white listeners.

o   Nearly 7 in 10 non-white adults listen to Country Music weekly or more often, compared to white adults listening to the genre.

 Listen to Country Music Weekly or More

White Non-White 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54
71% 71% 66% 71% 76% 71%
  1. The future geography of Country Music looks polycultural as key fan base regions (South, Southeast, Southwest, and West) are on track to become the earliest majority-minority counties among the U.S. with 40 percent or more of those being non-white
  2. The number of music listeners that have started enjoying Country Music in recent years (five years or less) outranks new listeners for other top genres: classic rock, pop, or rock 

How Long Have You Been Listening to Country Music

<2 years 2-5 years Total
Country 8.5% 9% 17.5%
Pop 6% 9% 15%
Rock 7% 6% 13%
Classic Rock 5% 3% 8%

o   This new adoption of Country Music is amplified among non-white, non-traditional audience which saw 19 percent listening to Country Music for two-years or less – a rate two times the U.S. average and the highest for any of today’s top music genres.

  1. The Millennial audience is a big opportunity up for grabs when it comes to music engagement

o   Millennials, those between the ages of 18 and 35, now surpass Gen X and Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. – 78 million.

  1. Younger and diverse Country Music listeners have higher music listening behaviors compared to more traditional fans, which points to future opportunities to grow engagement with these audiences 

Average Number of Hours Spent Listening to Music Daily

White Non-White 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-64
4hrs:9m 5hrs:9m 5hrs:31m 4hrs:7m 4hrs:11m 3hrs:3m

o   Compared to other generations of listeners, emerging Millennials spend approximately 63 minutes more per day listening to music.

o   When it comes to non-whites, the connection that music has to their lifestyle is reflected in a higher daily time spent listening to music – approximately 60 minutes more per day than total listeners.

  1. The core appeal of Country Music remains strong across shifting segments as well as those more established

o   Its authenticity and relatability helps listeners from all segments connect to their emotional side – all three characteristics that listeners consistently rank as the top three appealing aspects of Country Music.

  1. Only 50 percent of Country Music fans prefer to stick to one genre while listening to music

o   These new, powerful consumer segments have ushered in the “big blend” era, which is impacting how they consume media and music. Previously more segregated among generations and by genre, the up-and-coming Country Music audience holds a core belief that disregards labels and boundaries. Country Music’s expansion has likely benefited from this “blending of boundaries,” which has led to discovery of new music and artists quicker and easier than ever.

  1. The injection of new Country Music fans is increasing the reach of the genre and will continue to do so in the future

o   This new infusion of reach should not be taken for granted as: “more listeners with the same behaviors as we have seen in the past.”

o   New generational beliefs and cultural values will make it imperative that our genre continue to grow in understanding these new Country Music consumers and deliver music experiences and engagement opportunities that are true to their core beliefs and values – by doing so we can help to ensure their growth and sustained future as Country Music fans.

The data reported in this summary is from CMA’s proprietary consumer study, which was conducted among 3,330 adult consumers across the U.S. during October 2015. The study was conducted by a third-party research partner, The Futures Company. CMA Research is conducted on behalf of and provided exclusive to CMA members.

Upcoming Webinars include:

Tuesday, May 10 (2:00 PM/CT)
New Ownership Beliefs and Music Spending Profiles

Tuesday, May 17
(2:00 PM/CT)
The Fan Economy Difference

For more information about CMA’s initiatives and events, visit For information about the series, contact

About The Futures Company: The Futures Company is an award-winning, global strategic insight and innovation consultancy. The Futures Company was formed in 2008 from the coming together of The Henley Centre, HeadlightVision, and Yankelovich. The Futures Company is a Kantar company within WPP with teams in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia.

About CMA: Founded in 1958, the Country Music Association was the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. In 1961, CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame to recognize artists and industry professionals with Country Music’s highest honor. More than 7,450 music industry professionals and companies from around the globe are members of CMA. The organization’s objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry and advance the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA’s core initiatives: the CMA Awards, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2016;  the CMA Music Festival, which benefits music education and is taped for a three-hour TV special; and “CMA Country Christmas,” featuring Country artists performing original music and Christmas classics. All of CMA’s television properties will air on the ABC Television network through 2021.