The platforms people use to listen to music have evolved rapidly in the last fifty years. Digital streaming and digital downloads are the most popular platforms to consume music, but physical platforms like CDs and vinyl are still common or, in the case of vinyl, even growing in use. This study investigated the needs being met and the reasons behind listening to music on these different platforms. This study also compared the differences in gratifications sought between physical music platforms and non-physical music platforms. A survey shared via email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, as well as via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service, used a snowball sampling method to recruit participants who listened to at least two hours of music a week (N = 594). Factor analysis revealed four gratifications for listening to music: personal identity, mood management, diversion, and personal relationships. Physical platforms were found to be preferred by users to satisfy personal relationship needs while non-physical platforms were found to be used by users to satisfy mood management needs, with no significant difference between platform types used to satisfy the needs of personal identity or diversion.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Music--Psychological aspects; Consumer behavior; Motivation (Psychology); Sound recordings--Public opinion; Compact discs--Public opinion; Streaming audio--Public opinion; Downloading of data--Public opinion

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Communication (CLA)


Kelly Norris Martin

Advisor/Committee Member

Whitney Sperrazza

Advisor/Committee Member

Ammina Kothari


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes