By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The best in country music was front at center Monday night at the CMT Music Awards.

Whether it’s country, pop, rap or rock, we wanted to know: What’s the most popular way we listen to music? Good Question. Jeff Wagner also learned which type of music we listen to the most.

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There’s nearly as many options for how to listen to music as there are genres at Cheapo Records in south Minneapolis. But there’s one choice not on a shelf that undoubtedly leads the way.

“Either iTunes or YouTube,” said customer Michael Aultman when asked how he prefers to listen to music.

“I do Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud and Pandora,” said Carlos Cruz.

CBS News polled around 1,600 adults on their preferred method of listening to music. Streaming services was overwhelming number one at 43%. Research by MIDiA shows more than 520 million people pay to play on services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Coming in second was radio, much to the surprise of people at Cheapo. Manager Pat Wheeler thought it would be CDs.

“Maybe like to have a booklet with a CD, or a record that has the information. The story behind it, who recorded it,” Wheeler said.

Despite listing four streaming services he uses, Cruz was hoping to grow his CD collection Monday.

“Physically you can like look at it, you can feel it, you can go through the package and like look at the art. That’s what I like about it,” Cruz said.

After streaming services and radio, third place was downloaded music, followed by CDs, vinyl records and cassette tapes.

Only 1% of those polled used cassette tapes. The age range that used them the most was people under 30.

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“Those are making a comeback. I see a lot of people are getting into cassettes again,” Cruz said.

“We get a lot of young kids looking at cassettes these days,” Wheeler said.

(credit: CBS)

As for what type of music adults prefer to enjoy, rock holds down the top spot at 32%, followed by pop at 15%, then hip hop at 14%.

“That’s funny because rock on the [Billboard] charts is nowhere,” Wheeler said.

The rankings of those genres flip flop when you go by age. Rock is the preferred genre of those polled for people ages 45-64, whereas hip hop has a huge lead for adults under 30, showing a generational gap in when the genres became popular.

“It’s kind of what you grew up with, too,” Wheeler said.

Would you be willing to attend a concert in the next few months?

“Oh yeah, 100%,” said Cruz with a smile. “That’s like another feeling you get with music, too. When you’re in person it’s like man, different feeling.”

That feeling is something so many music fans have missed out on. Only 21% of those polled went to a concert since the pandemic started. Some cited COVID as the reason. Many venues were also shut down because of the pandemic, then opted to have restrictions such as vaccine mandates upon reopening.

“It’s fun to see, you know, more shows [popping up]. Posters put up on our board, more shows coming, you know, full slates of gigs at First Avenue and the other venues,” Wheeler said.

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Thirty percent of the adults polled say there’s a good chance they’ll attend a concert in the months ahead.

Jeff Wagner