We've just posted the first set of results from the 2012 U2 Fan Survey, and there are some interesting items that stand out in this year's data -- especially when compared to how you voted in the last survey, which took place in April 2010.
This year, the survey was open for five fewer days than in 2010. We still managed to get completed responses from 3,530 fans in 79 countries, both of which are down from 2010. That can be attributed to the U2 360 tour; @U2 gets much higher website traffic when U2 is touring and/or putting out a new album, so more fans were aware of the survey two years ago.
This year's survey is a little less U.S.-centric -- 48.3 percent of survey takers in 2010 lived in the USA, compared to 43.7 percent this year.
Enough of the background, here are a few things to watch for when you look through the first batch of results that we've posted:
Despite U2's efforts, U2 fans are aging. Although U2 and Paul McGuinness have spoken about continuing to try to reach young music fans, there's no sign that the band has been able to stop the aging of its audience. In 2010, almost 34 percent of survey takers were under 30. This year, a little more than 27 percent were in that age range.
Listening less to U2. The number of fans who say they listen to U2 every day fell from 41 percent to 35 percent, and the number who listen 5-6 times per week also dropped slightly. This might be due to timing: In April 2010, there was still plenty of U2 360 tour excitement in the air. This year's survey happened during a down time for U2.
Coldplay is number two. Just like in 2010, Coldplay was named as "next favorite artist" more than anyone else. Their support was even bigger in 2012 (8.2 percent) than in 2010 (7.7 percent).
U2.com support. Less than 15 percent of survey takers who say they're currently paying members at U2.com said they will not be renewing their membership when it's due.
Are we hoarders? Almost 72 percent of fans say they collect U2 memorabilia or merchandise, up from 69 percent in 2010. And when it comes to collecting live shows, five percent of fans say they have more than 500! That's a lot of live versions of "Pride." (I'm foreshadowing future survey responses there.)
(RED) beats Edun. About 45 percent of survey takers say they've bought a (RED) product, compared to about 14 percent who've bought an Edun product. This isn't surprising, though -- (RED) is priced much more favorably for a wider consumer audience than Edun.
Ready to see all of the replies to Sections A and B? Visit our 2012 U2 Fan Survey page. And stay tuned as we post more from the 2012 U2 Fan Survey in the coming days and weeks.