Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Latino Sound of Digital Music

August 16, 2011 | by  Gustavo Razzetti

Spotify, the Swedish online music-on-demand service, has teamed up with Warner Music Group to launch the site in the U.S. With over 10 million European subscribers and followers, including celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg and Demi Moore, Spotify could definitely benefit from targeting Latinos in order to develop its U.S. presence.

Latinos are listening to more and more music. If you take a look at CD purchases, Latinos over-index, and this is even higher among lower acculturated Hispanics. Paradoxically, they show the same passion about digital music. As I discussed in previous posts, Latinos are embracing and leading adoption of new technologies such as mobile and social media. Ubiquity has become the new norm and this is true with music too. Latinos want to access their favorite artists and songs everywhere, all the time, and in every format possible.

The Digital Shift

Latinos are leading the shift to listening to music online and on computers at a faster pace than the general population. Hispanics are downloading and streaming music with a tendency to use many platforms. Part of the reason is that they first try to find the song for free and if that's not the case, then they buy it online.

Among Hispanics, the shift to mobile is greater than the general market. On Pandora, Hispanics skew 72 percent mobile and 28 percent web, and mobile is responsible for 83 percent of Hispanic listening hours, reaffirming that ubiquity is the new norm to music.

The Battle for Listeners

Although Latinos use many platforms like Rhapsody, Napster, Last.fm, etc., there are two players that have been growing in terms of preference: Pandora and Batanga.

Pandora reports that Hispanic users doubled in 2010 and currently has 6.5 million registered users who identify as Hispanic, of which about 2.7 million visit monthly and 550,000 visit daily. Eighty-five percent of Hispanic users are actively engaged with their music and "thumb" their favorite songs and spend about two hours on Pandora each day. Interestingly, 75 percent of Hispanics on Pandora speak Spanish while only a quarter speak only English, showing that language preference among Pandora Hispanics is not skewed to English-dominant.

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