September 11, 2011

31% prefer ballads & romantic tunes

Numerous research studies show music has the power to reduce stress, provide entertainment and can even be used in educational therapy for children with learning disabilities. Music is also at the core of Puerto Ricans’ cultural expression.

In fact, nine out of 10 Puerto Ricans, an astounding 90%, listen to music, while more than one-fourth listen to ballads (slow music genre), according to this week’s CARIBBEAN BUSINESS/WOSO Radio/Gaither International poll. The survey, consisting of 726 face-to-face interviews from an islandwide representative sample of adults, has a statistical margin of error of ±3.64%.

Survey findings also point out that those ages 54 & younger are more likely than their older counterparts to listen to music.

“While there were no differences by gender, poll results show those from higher socioeconomic and educational backgrounds are the likeliest to regularly listen to music. Residents of the San Juan Metro and adjacent regions are also likelier than residents from other parts of the island to be avid music listeners,” noted Beatriz Castro, director of syndicated research for Gaither International.

Survey participants were asked, “What type of music do you listen to the most?” Results showed 31% of Puerto Ricans prefer to listen to ballads or romantic music; while in close second, 26% of those polled, or more than one-fourth of the population, said they enjoy listening to salsa, the tropical music genre typically associated with Puerto Rico.

Two other music genres that also received high marks from Puerto Ricans were bachata and merengue, at 18% and 17%, respectively—both tropical rhythms imported from the Dominican Republic.

Religious/gospel music was the next popular, favored by a considerable 15% of the population. This trend is consistent with the growth of the island’s Christian community in recent years. Other music genres listened to by Puerto Ricans include reggaeton, the Puerto Rican version of African-American rap, described as a mix of rap with reggae-style rhythms; traditional Puerto Rican music, always a favorite during the holiday season; and Spanish rock.
Not surprisingly, women are more likely than men to listen to ballads. Results point out that while more than one-third (36%) of female respondents mentioned ballads as their top music choice, more than one-fifth of men (22%) said romantic music is their favorite.

Findings also show those ages 35 & older are more likely than their younger counterparts to listen to this genre. “This is the music we grew up with during the late 1970s and 1980s, listening to popular theme songs from Spanish telenovelas (TV soap operas) and such renowned Latin figures as Luis Miguel, Juan Gabriel, Joan Manuel Serrat, Camilo Sesto, José Luis Rodríguez (‘El Puma’) and others,” recalls Lysandra Ramos from GMT Corp.

Interestingly, those in the San Juan Metro and Mayagüez regions are the most likely to enjoy listening to ballads/slow Spanish music, according to survey results. In fact, almost half (48%) of Mayagüez respondents said they listened to ballads more than to any other music variety. 

Contrary to ballads favored by female listeners, salsa is a favorite among male Puerto Ricans, with 35% of men favoring this genre compared to 21% of the females.

Interestingly, salsa is also a favorite among younger demographics, those ages 54 or younger, according to survey results. “Surprisingly, the higher the educational and socioeconomic levels of Puerto Ricans, the likelier they listen to salsa. Traditionally, salsa has been associated with a popular dance rhythm for the masses, meaning it has successfully crossed into mainstream audiences, becoming music that is not only most listened to by Puerto Ricans, but also a preferred choice music for dancing,” the Gaither analyst expressed. 

Bachata, the third-most-listened-to-music genre in Puerto Rico, is favored by a larger percentage of women than men, with 21% of females favoring this genre compared to 12% of the men—perhaps because despite its dance rhythm, bachata lyrics are often romantic, which tends to appeal to women. 
Merengue is also favored by women ages 35 to 54, regardless of income or socioeconomic level. Gospel music, on the contrary, is favored by a lower-socioeconomic segment of Puerto Rico society.

Poll results also show other statistical differences. Chief among them, reggaeton listeners are young, with more than one-fourth, or 26%, of those ages 34 or less preferring this music style, who also reside mostly in the Arecibo region. Traditional Puerto Rican music, on the other hand, is favored by an older, wealthier segment.

Where do you listen to music?

The Gaither survey also asked respondents: “Where do you listen to your favorite music?”

Results showed most islanders (68%) enjoy their favorite music on their home radios, followed by 12% who listen to their favorite tunes on the car radio and a surprising 10% who listen to music on their CD player, a format that has been under serious attack in recent years as a result of online music downloads, sharing and piracy, nearly ending the retail-music segment.

Just 4% of those polled mainly listen to music on their iPod or MP3 player, while 2% catch their favorite tunes on their computer. Such low online-music listening is tied to Puerto Rico’s limited Internet penetration, which still hovers at 50%. Television and cellphones are top music outlets for others.

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