Time to wrap up a few loose ends! I announced the Best Free Psytrance of 2010 (as selected by Ektoplazm visitors) one month ago. Now I would like to share the results of the other half of the free music survey–the parts dealing with file format and style preferences, listener habits, and other trends. For comparison you may wish to consult the additional results from last year’s survey, available here. It is important to remember that the results of this survey are by no means scientific. Since the survey is available on an “opt in” basis, the results reflect a biased cross-section of site visitors. Caveats aside, here are some of the additional results…
File format preference: FLAC seems to be gaining in popularity, but not by much. While support for MP3 remains steady at 50%, FLAC has crept up to 24% from 21% last year. WAV experienced a decline from 29% to 26%. These results are not necessarily significant. Prior to posting the survey I thought about giving up on WAV and only posting MP3 and FLAC packages but support for WAV remains strong and I will continue to post all releases in MP3, FLAC, and WAV format for the foreseeable future.
Style preference: Goa (50% for; 6% against), downtempo/ambient (41% for both with insignificant opposition), progressive (40% for; 9% against), full-on (35% for; 17% against) show an increase in popularity over last year’s results. Darkpsy support slipped from 43% to 40%, with only 15% showing support for the controversial psycore style, and 17% opposed having more of each style. Still, it is worth noting that the newly minted forest style enjoyed strong support at 40% with almost no opposition (although this result could be explained by lack of familiarity).
In response to last year’s survey I added many new styles to the system. This might explain the decrease in demand for experimental music (from 31% to 21%), largely because this catch-all category used to include a smorgasbord of other styles now represented on the site. Support for these new styles: psy dub (34%), morning (31%), tribal (25%), psybreaks (24%), Suomi (21%), and twilight (19%). My guess is that most people don’t really know what “twilight” refers to (darker full-on, usually). Still, many artists and labels are keen on pushing the style, so I am sure it will grow in popularity.
As before, techno (and the new minimal style) top the list of styles that survey respondents are not into. Since starting this survey it has been very apparent to me that Ektoplazm visitors want psychedelic music. For this reason I have been careful not to branch out into “regular” techno. I will, however, continue to post what I think of as the psychedelic side of the genre (which, for many, is simply techtrance, a style that always enjoys a lot of popularity around here). Perhaps minimal was an ill-advised addition, much like dubstep, which a very vocal minority have objected to in the more detailed comments. To appease the haters I switched dubstep with psystep (emphasizing that we’re only interested in the more tripped out forms of womp and wobble).
The figures reported in the preceding section won’t add up to 100%. Respondents were invited to select as many or as few styles as they wished for two different questions: “What style do you LOVE hearing from Ektoplazm?” and “What styles do you NOT want to hear from Ektoplazm?” These questions are designed to give me an idea of what sort of music people would like to hear more or less of. This, in turn, informs my editorial decisions in taking on new releases (or rejecting others).
Listener habits: fewer people admit to buying physical media (15% this year; 21% in 2009) whereas slightly more people buy digital media (12% this year; 9% in 2009). Streaming services such as Spotify continue to wallow in the low numbers (3%). The remainder opt for non-commercial means of procuring music: following the netlabel scene (holding steady at 28% of visitors), openly pirating music (19% this year; 16% in 2009), and getting most of their music from Ektoplazm (18% this year; 13% in 2009). The exact wording of the question for this section is “Where do you get MOST of your new music?” Respondents could only choose one option.
Social media: Facebook continues to dominate with 60% opting to receive updates there (up from 39% last year). RSS (17%) and Twitter (14%) support remain about the same. There is no escaping Zuckerberg’s empire, is there?
Donations: these figures also remain the same as last year. Only 6% of respondents had already donated; the vast majority responded that “maybe” they would donate in the future. I hope to be able to earn everyone’s support in 2011. If you feel like dropping something in the tip jar, please do!
Site-wide statistics: although not a part of the survey, this is as good a place as any to mention a few of the metrics I use to gauge how well the site is doing. For starters, Ektoplazm had 1,073,176 visits by 341,793 unique visitors and 3,908,417 page views in the 2010 calendar year. I posted 152 new releases, 18 of which were released through the Ektoplazm netlabel group (Ektoplazm/Drumlore/Omnitropic). More than 3,000,000 releases were served by the end 2010 (although some of this total had accrued in previous years). By the end of the year there were 8,000 comments left on the site (again, with some portion of that total made in previous years). I know I say this every year but 2010 was the strongest showing yet!
That’s it for 2010. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the year-end survey. Your feedback really matters to me! Finally, be sure to check out the other half of the survey results if you haven’t already: the Best Free Psytrance of 2010.
Photo: Mesoamerican statue.