Stamford, CT – HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer, and enterprise markets, has conducted a study in collaboration with OnePoll that takes a closer look at the role of music in the moments that have contributed to pop culture and left a lasting impression on listeners everywhere. The study was organized in connection with Make Music Day, the annual global summer celebration of music’s power to connect and uplift, and within the context of celebrating the 75th anniversary of HARMAN’s world-renowned audio brand JBL. The remarkable trajectory of the JBL brand has intersected with musical history so often that it has helped define musical pop culture as it is known today, and in so doing has influenced generations of music lovers.
Music transports listeners to other times and places
With a legacy of powering many of the world’s most epic events, including Tomorrowland, Coachella, Woodstock, and the Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound, the JBL brand epitomizes music’s immersive power. Participants in the study agreed overwhelmingly that music has the ability to sweep them away to a specific moment: 74% of US respondents said they felt that music is a time machine able to instantly transport them to a specific time. When asked what concert they would choose if they could travel back in time, 32% of US respondents cited Whitney Houston singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 1991 Super Bowl, followed by Elton John’s performance of “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s funeral (31%) and The Beatles’ rooftop concert in London (28%).
Music’s ability to take the listener to another time and place was underscored this past year, as millions of people around the world turned to music as a means of lifting their spirits and finding solace during the Covid-19 health crisis. Survey respondents agreed that music offers them a means of escape when facing difficult situations, echoing a previous OnePoll/HARMAN study in which 81.5% of respondents said that music had helped them cope with self-isolation during the pandemic. As listeners reached for the comfort of music over the past year, 30% of US respondents preferred “Lady Gaga’s One World: Together at Home” concert, followed by Shakira and J. Lo’s Super Bowl Halftime performance (28%) and John Legend’s “A Night for Bigger Love” performance (27%). Music also has the marvelous ability to immerse the listener in an entirely different culture—an attribute that was particularly appreciated during months of home quarantine. Survey respondents largely agreed that music helps broaden their horizons: 67% of Americans said that international music can act as a stepping stone toward appreciating other cultures.
Musical tastes evolve over time
Few people, if any, never change their minds about music; while nearly half of American respondents discovered their first favorite musical artist between the ages of 11 and 24, 66% said that their musical taste had significantly changed over the years, partly due to such outside influences as their friends (32%), music TV (28%), and their parents (27%). But despite listeners’ evolving musical tastes, most expressed a marked degree of loyalty to their favorite artists, with 64% of Americans saying that their favorite artist had not changed over the past decade. Transmission is important to most music lovers as well: 65% of Americans hope to pass down their taste for music to their children.
Live concerts still define the immersive experience
There is no experience to match the emotion and thrill of a live concert, and over its history the JBL brand has become synonymous with live music amplification. JBL products have powered countless concerts and collaborated with major artists over the past several decades, including most recently Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha. The memories related to concerts, especially one’s first concert, are especially strong: 31% of US respondents attended their first concert between the ages of 11 and 17, and 63% said they remembered every second of it. The emotional aspect was especially strong during that first concert; among those surveyed, 56% of US respondents mentioned feeling happy, while 50% said they felt energized and 40% said they felt emotional.
Sound quality drives the musical experience
If listeners are to reap the full rewards of music, quality is essential. In the US, 72% of respondents said that sound quality is an important factor in their enjoyment of music, reflecting one of the key trends to emerge during the pandemic, which is the growing demand for high-quality audio equipment. The need to work, study, and exercise from home, combined with the desire to enjoy live concerts and other musical content via streaming have all boosted demand. So too has the growing interest in online gaming, which greatly benefits from quality audio equipment such as JBL’s Quantum range of headsets made specifically for gaming.
Aware of the role that high-quality audio equipment plays in sound quality, 45% of Americans cited speakers as being their most important electronic device. “With 75 years of rich musical heritage to its name, JBL offers listeners of all ages and musical tastes a vast array of high-quality audio equipment designed to help them get the most out of every minute they spend listening,” said Dave Rogers, President of the Lifestyle Division. “Whether it’s true wireless headphones to hear and be heard during conference calls, portable Bluetooth speakers to share music with friends, gaming headsets that create a whole new level of immersive action, in-car audio systems that bring road trips to life, or sound bars that transform the living room into a concert hall, JBL is there, accompanying listeners wherever they are and wherever they go.”