Holiday Gifting: Music's Gifting Digital Double Whammy

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by Mark Mulligan

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MIDiA Research this week released a new report ‘Holiday Gifting: Music’s Gifting Digital Double Whammy’. MIDiA Research clients can download the report and dataset here.

The music industry has long placed supreme importance on the holiday season and it is a habit that dies hard. Release schedules are still geared towards the period and seasonal sales expectations, or least hopes, remain high. Yet gifting has been one of the biggest victims of the digital transition with digital gifting failing to capture the imagination of mainstream consumers. If a natural digital path cannot be plotted for music gifters the holiday season will ultimately lose most of its impact

The music industry has long placed supreme importance on the holiday season and it is a habit that dies hard. Release schedules are still geared towards the period and seasonal sales expectations, or least hopes, remain high. Yet gifting has been one of the biggest victims of the digital transition with digital gifting failing to capture the imagination of mainstream consumers. If a natural digital path cannot be plotted for music gifters the holiday season will ultimately lose most of its impact.

Here are some of the key findings from the report:

• Holiday gifting is facing a double whammy of a continued dependence on the CD and of weak interest in digital gifting

• Music gifting is becoming the last bastion of the CD: 25% consumers will gift a CD this holiday season, more than any other music product

• 35% of consumers would rather gift a book or some other physical gift rather than digital music

• 8% of consumers gifted music last holiday season but will not do this year

Music gifting is not about to disappear but it is plotting course for near obscurity as the gift of choice for the older consumer along with the pipe and slippers. A digital gifting market will exist and it will grow from its current modest beginnings. But there is nothing in extant consumer behaviour to suggest that it will ever come to rival the gifting market that accompanied the heyday of the CD.

One thing is abundantly clear however, if the role of the holiday season in driving music sales is diminishing then labels have little reason to load their release schedules to the period. The days of pivoting an industry’s annual fortunes around two months of sales is being consigned to the history books, and not a moment too soon.

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