2 in 3 Singaporeans proud of homegrown music and musicians


Staff member
Music is very much a part of Singaporeans’ lifestyles, with six in 10 of them saying they listen to it every day, either on the radio (22%) or via their own offline music libraries (26%), according to findings of the inaugural National Music Consumption Survey 2017 released by the National Arts Council (NAC) today. More than half of them expressed a high level of interest in music and were motivated to listen as a form of rest and relaxation.


The survey was commissioned by the NAC this year and conducted by Consulting Group - Asia Insight Pte Ltd to collect data on a national scale and to gain an understanding of general music consumption behaviour, as well as to capture public perceptions of homegrown music in Singapore. The survey involved door-to-door interviews with 1,000 Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, representative of Singapore resident population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity and dwelling types between May and June 2017 (See Annex A for methodology and sample).

Said Ms Elaine Ng, Senior Director, Sector Development (Performing Arts), NAC “The inaugural National Music Consumption Survey shows that many of us have made music an essential part of our daily lives and it is no surprise, given how lyrics and melodies have long had the power to elicit emotions, unite people, evoke memories, inspire expression and more. It is also encouraging that Singaporean music, which can so powerfully bring people from different communities together, is heard and appreciated by Singapore audiences. That said, we recognise that more can be done to increase the support for Singaporean music among even more people, and the survey findings have spurred us to find more ways to further engagement with music.”


The main findings from the inaugural National Music Consumption Survey include:

a) Music consumption frequency
Nine in 10 Singaporeans listen to music at least once a week (93%), with six in 10 (62%) listening daily. However, music consumption decreases with age, with daily consumption falling from 75% for 15-24-year-olds to 52% for those aged 55 and above.

b) Music consumption habits of Singaporeans
The majority of respondents listen to music for relaxation (66%). Some treat it as background accompaniment as they go about their daily tasks such as doing chores or homework (43%), or when commuting on private/public transport (37%).

There is a behavioural difference between age groups when consuming music.
Younger listeners are more inclined towards ‘multi-tasking listening’ i.e. complementing their daily activities with music, whereas older listeners are more likely to set aside time to listen to music.

Furthermore, younger listeners also prefer a higher level of control over their music content consumption. They curate their personal music libraries and choose which paid streaming services to subscribe to. Seniors (65 years and above), in comparison, are more passive, tuning to FM radio and TV where music is often incidental and part of their entertainment consumption.

c) Attendance at music events
On average, nearly a third of Singaporeans attended at least one music event in the past year. Music events are defined as indoor and outdoor concerts, festivals, pub performances, club events with DJs, music activities or showcases in public spaces, community centres, shopping malls or any other kind of music performance/event.

Among those who went to music events, they averaged more than four events a year, of which three were paid events. Those under the age of 45 were more likely to have attended music events (38%) than those aged 45 to 54 (27%) and those aged 55 and above (17%).

Western Classical Music and Opera is the third most attended genre (19%) after Top 40s/Pop (47%) and Hip-hop, R&B and Soul (20%).

d) Preferred platforms to listen to music and discover new music
Listeners access music mostly through offline music libraries (26%), offline radio (22%), online music videos (18%), paid streaming services (10%) and television (9%).

People still discover music new to them through traditional channels, namely radio (65%) and television/movies/musicals (43%), especially for those aged 25 and above. However, for those aged between 15 and 24, online videos (66%) are the likeliest avenues through which they discover new music or musicians.

These findings, including the fact that 2 in 3 Singaporeans listen to music by watching videos on online platforms like YouTube (66%), also corroborate a key finding from the 2015 Population Survey on the Arts, which reported that access to the arts in Singapore was enhanced through digital media[2], driven mostly by the consumption of music performances online (73 per cent). Social media, especially, served as a powerful tool for people to discover and experience the arts.

e) Traditional ethnic music[3] is the third most listened-to genre
The two most popular genres are Top 40s/Pop (61%) and Hip-hop, R&B and Soul (27%). The third most listened-to genre is Traditional Ethnic Music (19%). Most people listen to English-language music (77%), followed by Chinese (61%), Korean (15%), Malay (12%), Japanese (9%) and Tamil (8%). Music without lyrics comes in at 17%.

Says Mr Terence Ho, Executive Director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, “The Chinese music scene is a vibrant one and as we have evolved with the times, our audiences have also grown with us over the years. It is very encouraging to see this strong following for traditional ethnic music. Moving forward, we must continue to nurture not only the next generation of traditional ethnic musicians, but also ensure there is an audience with a passion and appreciation for the art form.”

f) Attitudes and consumption of home-grown music
Most Singaporeans are proud of homegrown music and musicians (2 in 3) and 71% indicated that they listen to Singaporean music. Furthermore, one in three actively seeks out Singaporean music, or expressed interest in it. Almost half (49%) of general music listeners listen to Singaporean music on a weekly basis, compared to the national average of 93% for all music.

Among those who do not listen to Singaporean music (29%), they cited the lack of exposure to homegrown music and talents (43%) and a general preference for international music (42%) as their reasons.

As part of NAC’s efforts to continue to increase accessibility and exposure for young audiences to Singaporean music, NAC will be partnering music media company, Bandwagon to launch a national movement with an online platform Hear65 in 2018. The platform aims to raise awareness and interest in homegrown music and Singaporean artists.

“Our music scene is a diverse and dynamic one, with talented young musicians consistently coming to the fore and pushing boundaries with their passion for music making. This survey has shown that many Singaporeans are supportive of our musicians and the findings have encouraged us to work more closely with the music industry and practitioners to achieve an even wider audience for our music. With Bandwagon, we look forward to establishing partnerships with brands and companies that share our passion to bring good music to more people in Singapore.” said Mr Kok Tse Wei, Deputy Director, Sector Development (Music) of the NAC.

A summary of the key survey findings will be available on the Council’s website.

For more information, please refer to:
Annex A – Methodology & Sample
Annex B – National Music Consumption Survey infographics
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