For Political Parties, Music Could be the Winning Ticket

For Political Parties, Music Could be the Winning Ticket

With less than a month before the U.S. presidential election, many political onlookers are expecting independent and undecided voters to be the decision makers in what has been a very close race. But while the two primary candidates are focused on issues like national security and job creation, there may be another way to forge an emotional connection with undecided and independent voters in key swing states: music.

Independent and unaffiliated voters are often grouped together as “undecided” voters, but from an entertainment perspective, they’re quite different. According to the Nielsen Music 360 survey, those who identified as independent (or “other”) voters are more likely to be older, upscale males who are highly locked into current events, while unaffiliated voters, those who did not identify with any political party, are more digitally savvy, younger Millennials with lower household incomes. The music engagement habits of these two groups are also similarly distinct and follow traditional demographic boundaries.Both groups say that they love music. In fact, nearly three out of four say that music is an “important part of their lives.” While both groups listen to music while they are at work or at school, the independents (more likely to be the Gen X/Baby Boomers) are twice as more likely to do so.

Independent voters prefer Classic Rock, even some classical music, which they listen to from their CDs, their digital library, or on AM/FM radio. They’re less likely to listen to urban genres, such as R&B and Hip Hop, and over half say they discover new music through AM/FM radio. Over one-quarter of them say they’d like to know more about the creative process from the artists they like, and they actively do this by reading Tweets and Facebook posts from their favorite artists. They’re also 24% more likely to visit an artist website than the general population.

Unaffiliated voters are more avid listeners of Hip Hop and Rap and are less likely to listen to Country. Almost one in five uses a website or app to stream music and custom playlists, 13% more than the general population. Nearly one quarter discover new music through social media sites and apps, and nearly half use social media to stay informed about artists they care about. Typical cord cutters, this group is more likely to say that video games play an important part of their lives and they’re less likely to say the same for TV. They will watch ads in exchange for free music videos online, and like independents, read Tweets and Facebook posts about their favorite artists.

Artist endorsements of candidates is nothing new, and the two major candidates have already secured the backing of various stars. But understanding how different consumers discover and consume music, and follow musicians online, may provide the candidates with additional strategies for outreach and engagement.