IN A WORLD O… sound quality has been crushed under the hegemony of convenience and scale as young music fans have learned to prefer metallic tones of compression and exaggerated recording levels, while dynamic range and fidelity become distant memories. In this dystopian world where the secret societies of old people and hipsters hold tight to their vinyl records and their shop turntables, comes… The Survey!
It all started with a few executives at Dolby Labs who needed an empirical justification to invest in Background music, The Survey revealed a new generation that truly cares about good sound: GenZ! This new generation, against all odds, would challenge the status quo and demand exceptional sound, and are willing to pay for it. The survey further revealed that many of these budding young audiophiles are likely to know what a Led Zeppelin is and can even, without irony, wear a Nirvana t-shirt while listening to a few of their songs. The Survey’s revelations made secret societies of old men smile with vinyl, and hipsters found something else to criticize.
Dolby Labs Listening Behavior Survey
Dolby Labs has just announced the results of an interesting OnePoll survey of American adults (18+) who listen to at least an hour of music every day. The survey delved into the minds of music fans to take a closer look at music listening trends in 2021 and the results appear positive for those of us who love the sound quality. Although the survey was intergenerational, some of the most surprising findings relate to today’s youngest adults, the so-called GenZs. It looks like GenZ can share our Audioholic enthusiasm not only for the sound quality, but also for the music of the last decades.
Spatial Audio Music Mix Youtube Discussions
It’s no secret that the future prospects of sound quality on digital convenience has been dark since the early years of digital media. The pirated iPods and MP3s that became all the rage in the early 2000s may have had obvious benefits for music lovers, but sound quality was not one of them.
For Millennials, good sound wasn’t a priority when they expanded their musical horizons with bit streams, Napster, and the low bitrate DRM infused AAC file legally purchased from Apple Music. Music and hardware media trends during the 2010s created a mainstream audio environment that gave little incentive to manufacturers and platforms to elevate their gaming to high fidelity. At least one study we covered in 2009 showed that many Millennials even prefer the sound of hyper-compressed digital formats. This study from a little over a decade ago only confirmed our suspicions, as we had already suffered the Dumbing down audio, because digital formats like the CD used source material that had been recorded in ever-increasing volumes in the so-called Volume war.
All of these trends put together gave us plenty of reason to complain to the GenXers and our Boomer elders during the early years of digital music. High resolution / multichannel formats such as DVD-Audio and SACD have faded as consumer preference for music dominated by scale over sound quality. And that no one with a bit of gray around their temples has started talking about popular music in the past decade!
But this new Dolby investigation offers a glimmer of hope, it seems times are changing! A generational shift appears to be underway, just as Millennials are being supplanted by GenZ as younger adults. This new generation seems to have more in common with the music listening behaviors of the previous generation. Today’s youngest adults may be behind the consumer preference for lossless sound quality, high-quality audio devices, and even older music created in Canada, according to the survey. in previous decades.
Nostalgia for the music of the past
According to the survey, there’s a lot of intergenerational nostalgia in the air. As older adults rediscover the music of their youth, many young adults at GenZ adopt a preference for iconic bands from the past. While 6 in 10 respondents overall said they felt they were born in the wrong time due to their taste for music, but that number jumped to 80% for GenZ. And honestly, who can blame them? Maybe some of these kids will one day choose to identify as baby boomers. Almost half of those polled say they discovered songs released more than ten years ago, but this behavior was highest, again among GenZ at 70%.
Social networks and Hollywood musical influences
The survey also determined that social media and Hollywood movies are the primary methods of music discovery. YouTube occupies the undisputed number one spot with 79% of respondents discovering music on Google’s video platform globally, with Facebook, Instagram and TikTok trailing behind. Recommendations from friends on social media can provide a personal connection to a song, depending on who on your Friends List makes the recommendation. But the discovery of music across Hollywood shouldn’t come as a surprise, as movies have the unique ability to completely recontextualize a song in its soundtrack and sometimes even put old songs back on the pop charts. No one who has seen Wayne’s World will ever hear Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody the same way again. As it turns out, almost a quarter of those polled who discovered a song from the last few decades did so from a movie or show.
Sound quality and audio material
The year 2021 could go down in history as the year without loss. Both Spotify and Apple Music brought the option to listeners this year and it’s likely a safe bet that any audio platform that isn’t already lossless streaming will be seen as second-class.
The Dolby Labs survey may have served to justify the investment in its Dolby Atmos Music division, it’s good marketing to get more adoption. But that should be a good thing overall, no matter how you personally feel about listening to another format of “surround” music. Even if you’re not crazy about Apple’s Spatial Audio effect (Apple’s Atmos Music brand), it’s ultimately just another choice and not a substitute for a lossless two-channel option. It’s generally a good thing to see audio technology researched with the goal of better sound, as long as it doesn’t detract from what’s already available. The very act of sitting down, closing your eyes, and listening has unfortunately become an underserved aspect of audio technology in consumer electronics. Over the past two decades, much of the industry seemed to want us to believe that quantity is better than quality. Fortunately, that may change and if Dolby Labs’ survey is any indication, manufacturers and electronics platforms have a vested interest in serving a growing niche that cares about good sound.
Of those polled who pay for a music streaming service, 90% said improved audio quality is a “must have” feature. Of the must-haves, 82% said they upgraded or changed the services to one with better sound quality. The desire for sound quality was highest among GenZ. Almost half of the GenZs surveyed said they demand the latest “cutting edge” audio technology with their music streaming plans, which is certainly good news for Dolby Labs. The survey also brought good news for consumer electronics manufacturers: 86% of Gen Z respondents said they would likely buy a new audio device in the next six months to get better sound quality for their home. listening to music.
Over the past 20 years, digital audio has been wiped out by volume wars and over-compression, and overall consumer responses have offered few requests for improvement. Perhaps the first sign of backlash against these trends was the rise in popularity of vinyl. We will avoid the old analog vs digital debate here, but we’ve always known that digital audio is capable of much better than the 128-bit MP3 which was threatening to become the de facto standard in how a song was made public. But, the trend seems to be moving in a more faithful direction and it is a sign of hope that should be music to our ears.
uncomfortable messages on December 28, 2021 4:13 PM
IN A WORLD O – sound quality has been crushed under the hegemony of convenience and scale, young music fans have learned to prefer the tiny tones of compression and exaggerated recording levels while the range dynamics and loyalty have become distant memories. In this dystopian world where the secret societies of old people and hipsters hold tight to their vinyl records and shop turntables ?? The poll! Dolby Labs’ investigation could be a game-changer for the future of consumer audio. Let’s see what new market information uncovered by Dolby Labs might tell us about the future of audio.
Read: Dolby Poll: GenZ Could Save The Sound Quality Of Music!