Little Data: Just Keep Streaming

The Experiment

If you haven’t heard yet, millennials don’t want to pay for music.

Drop that sentence in the record label boardroom and you’ll feel a collective cold sweat break out in the room.

Sorry not sorry?

We’re uninterested in paying for an album (hey, Bittorrent is only a few clicks away) and only slightly more interested in paying for premium streaming services like Spotify, Tidal & Apple Music.

But despite the doom and gloom, free streaming isn’t the end of the music industry, it’s the beginning of a whole new industry. One where streaming music is assumed to be free (or close to it) and the only thing worth paying for is live, one-of-a-kind music experiences.

So for this Little Data project, I wanted to see if I could find a connection between my free streaming music preferences and actual money I spent on concert and festival tickets.

The Visualization

In order to get a better idea of how the artists I love to listen to become the artists I’ll pay money to see, I started by gathering all my personal music data. I collected concerts, festivals, iTunes purchases, plus the follows, favorites and playlist counts from my three favorite streaming sources Spotify Free, SoundCloud & 8Tracks.

A quick look at the data showed me that the iTunes data was a joke (I spent $3.87 in 9 months) and that 8tracks was by far my favorite streaming platform.

With that in mind I decided to compare 8tracks favorite tracks with the genres and ticket prices. Take a look at the results:

Infographic depicting music streaming


  1. 8tracks is the best indicator of whether I’ll go. 69% of artists I saw I also like at least one song on 8tracks. I only followed 23% on Spotify or SoundCloud. Taking a quick look at Figure 2 it isn’t hard to tell why – I’m far more active on 8tracks than Spotify & Soundcloud combined.

  2. I like more Rap & Pop artists, but I’ll pay more for Country. A lot more. I spent an average of $78.49 on Country vs. $24.45 on Rap & Pop.

  3. Festivals only need a couple of artists I love. It’s a small sample size, but most of my decision to go to Austin City Limits was driven by two artists (and the fact that it’s in Austin).

The Conclusion

So don’t be too scared music execs. Sure, it’s a brave new world out there, but lucky for you it’s the kind of world where Millennials shudder at paying $9.99 a month to stream and love dropping a grand on Coachella.