Survey results! (part 1)

Thank you to everyone who completed my survey “Perception and attitude of musicians toward copyright”. The results are in!

Over the next few posts will summarize some of the interesting findings and what they might mean for promoting awareness of copyright amongst people in the music industry. This is my first go at doing research into this subject, and looking back on it, there are some things I would do differently; I will point these out as I go along.

A copy of the original survey instrument can be found here.

This first post reports about who responded. I asked a few demographic questions to see if any survey results might correlate to characteristics such as age, role, and length of time in the industry. In later posts I will discuss any significant correlations that I found.

There were 61 respondents in total. That’s not the best response rate when you’re looking at a population of millions, but we can still come to some conclusions as long as we specify they only apply to the sample.

What is your role in the music industry (past and present)?

Respondents were permitted to choose more than one answer.

A bar chart showing respondents' role in the music industry.

Of all respondents, 54% identified themselves as solo musicians, 46% as music students, 46% played in a band, and 41% were music educators. Music songwriters, lyric songwriters, and studio musicians came in at 25% each, while 23% were guests musicians, 13% were producers, 7% were artist managers, and 2% were record company executives.

Respondents could also choose “Other” and add a role that was not already listed. Included here were such roles as attorney, copyright consultant, music website contributor, event planner, and choreographer.

In what genre(s) of music do you place yourself?

Again, respondents could choose more than one answer.

A bar chart showing the musical genres the respondents are associated with.

More than half of the respondents (52%) placed themselves in the genre of Classical music. The next most common genre was Rock / heavy metal (39%), followed by Pop (31%), Jazz (25%), R&B / soul (15%), Country (13%), Blues (10%), Rap / hip hop (5%), EDM / house (3%), and Other genres such as world music and gospel (16%).

I was surprised to see that so many respondents worked in classical music. I thought it might have something to do with the fact that surveys such as this, which are part of an academic project, are more likely to get responses from other academics (and their students). Classical music is a popular concentration in music programs, probably more so than other genres on this list, so it stands to reason that I would get more responses from classical musicians in academia.

To test this theory, I analyzed whether music students and music educators were more likely than chance to choose classical music as one of their genres. A chi square test confirmed my thoughts –

Respondents who chose Music student or Music educator as their role were significantly more likely to have chosen Classical music as one of their genres. Furthermore, music educators were less likely than chance to have chosen Rock / heavy metal as one of their genres.

These relationships were not found with any other role or genre (however in couple of instances there were not enough responses for a meaningful analysis).

What is your age group?

A pie chart showing the ages of the respondents, categorized into six age groups.

Among respondents, 38% were aged 18–29, 3% were 30–39, 29% were 40–49, 18% were 50–59, 10% were 60–69, and 2% were 70 years of age or older.

Since there were some age groups that had very few respondents (i.e. one or two), I decided to re-categorize the responses under broader age groups, to increase the chance of detecting meaningful relationships between variables.

A pie chart showing the ages of the respondents, categorized into three age groups.
Same responses, categorized in broader age groups.

Now there are three somewhat balanced groups: 18–29 (38%), 30–49 (33%), and 50+ (29%).

How long have you been involved in the music industry?

A pie chart showing the length of time respondents have been in the music industry, categorized into six age groups.

The results for length of time in the music industry were a bit more evenly distributed than for age group: 16% have been in the business for five years or fewer, 23% for 6–10 years, 15% for 11–20 years, 18% for 20–29 years (I realize there is unintended overlap), 13% for 30–39 years, and 12% for 40 years or more. Two respondents (3%) skipped the question.

Even though all of the choices ended up with more than a few respondents (i.e. more than five), I re-categorized them as I did with age. I did this so I could see if there was any variation in results based on the general era that the respondents began their music career:

  • 30 years or more – before the 1990s; the era before the Internet became popular amongst the general public (“Pre-Internet era”);
  • 11 to 29 years – 1990s to late 2000s; the era that saw the rise of digital sharing and purchasing of music (“Napster era”);
  • 10 years or fewer – late 2000s to present; the era of streaming music service proliferation (“Pandora era”).
A pie chart showing the length of time respondents have been in the music industry, categorized into three age groups.

We find 25% of respondents started their career in the Pre-Internet era, 33% during the Napster era, and 39% in the Pandora era.

Those are the demographic characteristics of the responses. In the next post I will discuss the responses to the specific questions about copyright.

If you have any questions or have something to say about the data so far, feel free to leave a comment below!

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