Students discover music, reflect national trends

Two students standing too close. Uncomfortably close. Invading each other’s personal space, their heads bent awkwardly towards each other. Two students unaware of their surroundings speaking only occasionally.

Two students connected by a single white cord, one end branching towards their ears and one end towards a phone. One headphone connected to a familiar ear, the other hearing a song for the first time.

The 2015 Nielsen Music 360 Report surveyed 3,305 individuals in the US, revealing that 91% of the population listens to music, “spending more than 24 hours a week listening to their favorite tunes.” The Nielsen Music sample group reflected US population demographics, relative to age, gender and ethnicity.

But how does this information relate to NCHS students?

According to the Nielsen report, 45% of the population discovers new music through friends and relatives.

This is also true of many NCHS students. Junior Sara Swan said that she finds out about new music through her friend Maddie McDonnall(12).

“I spend a lot of time on Soundcloud looking for new songs,” McDonnall said. 

Soundcloud is a free streaming site which artists can use to share their music with listeners. Similiar services such as Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Music, and 8tracks exist as alternatives for listeners, each offering its own distinct features. 

Nielsen reports that streaming usage has increased 92.4% from 2014 to the first half of 2015.

McDonnall also discovers new music through Twitter, she “follow[s] a lot of artists and they’re always posting about new artists and songs.”

Social media and music share a strong relationship.

According to Nielsen, The 56th Annual Grammy Awards, in 2014, was the second most tweeted about televised special event, being tweeted about over 13 million times. Five of the top 10 most tweeted about televised specials were music award shows.  All of which had more Twitter engagement than the State of the Union address.

The Nielsen group reported that 25% of people surveyed found and accessed music through social media sites and apps, freshman Chloe Kindred is one such person. 

“I find new music when I’m on different social medias,” Kindred said, “I find it on Vine, Twitter and YouTube.”

Kindred searches different hashtags and  accounts within these websites to find music unknown to her.

Junior Dalton Lunn, like Kindred, goes to Youtube to find new music. He, however, visits to the “related” section of the site or “the section right next to the song [currently] playing.”

Other students use less popular routes to find new music. Andrew Templin(10) goes to the local record stores to find fresh music, to him, to listen to.

It seems as though vinyl records sales ,once thought are a dying medium, are actually on the rise. According to Nielsen, record sales have increased by 51.8% from just 2013 to 2014.

With three record stores in Bloomington-Normal, and other non specialty stores starting to carry vinyl on their shelves, this number may increase soon.

Nielsen reports that though independent music shop’s sales increased 0.6% from 2014 to 2015, while chain stores salesdecreased 6.8%.

Though these students shared where to find music, how they find it and decide to listen to listen to it within the site or friends suggestions remains in question.

Some students, like Courtnee Madsen(12), tend to judge a book by it’s cover in order to determine what to listen to, sharing that she will normally listen to a song if it has an interesting album artwork.
Students interviewed for the article expressed that they listened to certain music based on what was popular, or what their friends chose to listen to.

“I decide what type of music I listen to by what my friends like[to listen to],” Kindred said, “…by what’s in style at the time.”

Rha Singh, a freshman, also turns to his friends to find out what new music to listen to. He told that he listens to modern music.

“I mean they just tell me to listen to a song because it’s like really nice,” Singh said, “I’ll Youtube it first and then i’ll download it if i like it or not.”

Though many of these students are finding their music in the same ways, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are listening to the same things.

“I listen to a lot of different types of music,” Teresa Taflan(12), who also finds her music via friends said, “you could say mostly pop.”

Lunn, one of the students who finds music on Youtube, listens to mostly hip-hop with a mix of indie rock and pop punk as well. But Kindred doesn’t listen to the same genres.

“I listen to pop or alternative,” Kindred said. Listening to artists like Panic! At The Disco, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd.

No matter the genre, students are finding ways to discover new artists. Sometimes even as a way of flirting.

According to a Pew report on teens and relationships, 11% of teens have reported that they flirt by sharing a music playlist that they have created for the individual they are interested in.

Two students standing too close. Heads turned towards each other, connected by a white cord. Students are connected by this music, despite the differences in genre, artist, or ways of discovering it.