There are so many ways to discover, buy and listen to music. What's the best way? Read more to find out about the exciting music culture in the UK!


Do you download music? Do you buy CDs? Do you listen to music on your phone? Do you prefer to watch music or just to listen? What about the old-fashioned radio? Have you ever seen your favourite band or singer perform live? There are so many ways to discover, buy and listen to music!

Music videos

British teenagers like to watch their music online. Watching music on video streaming sites on the internet is now more popular than listening to the radio with young British people. Popular videos can quickly become extremely popular internationally. Justin Bieber’s song ‘Baby’ was the most watched music video on YouTube until recently. In 2012 PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ became the most watched video on YouTube with over 1 billion views. Things can change quickly on YouTube!

Downloading music

Downloading music is a popular choice for young Brits. The BPI (an organisation which promotes the interests of British music) says that people in the UK prefer downloading singles rather than albums. In the UK you can download a single for about 1 pound and an album for around 10 pounds. Using file-sharing websites to download music is often illegal of course but some people still continue to get their music this way. Recording companies and many musicians are very unhappy that people can listen to their music without paying for it.

Live music

The O2 in London is the second largest live music arena in Europe. There you can see world-famous bands such as One Direction, Justin Bieber, Scissor Sisters, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Take That. This massive stadium has space for 20,000 people. It also has 548 toilets! Tickets are not cheap. You can pay more than 50 pounds to see a concert at The O2.

What about free live music? There are music festivals across Britain every year that are completely free of charge. Last year more than 150,000 people went to the Tramlines free music festival in Sheffield in the north of England. The two-day festival is held every July. Last year there were nine hundred performances in total including local bands as well as music from all over the world.

Music on TV

‘The X Factor’ is a British television music competition to find new talented singers. The 'X Factor' of the title refers to the difficult-to-define quality that makes a star. The TV show began in 2004 and is still extremely popular. X Factor singers perform on a stage in front of the judges and a live audience. After the performance the audience at home can vote by phone for their favourite acts. Many winners then go on to get a UK number-one single. But you don’t have to win the X Factor to become famous. One Direction, the massively popular British boy band, competed in the X Factor in 2010. They didn’t win; they came third!

What kind of music?

What are you and your friends listening to these days? Hip hop, dance, rock, heavy metal, rap, urban, reggae, … Individual tastes are very varied amongst British teenagers. If a type of music exists then somebody likes it. A shopping centre in Birmingham, in central England, recently discovered what kind of music some local teenagers don’t like. This is what happened ... Shoppers and shop owners complained to the police about teenagers behaving badly in the shopping centre. When a new sound system started playing Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, the antisocial behaviour stopped. The young people causing problems had gone!  Classical music was clearly not popular with these particular teenagers!

Are you listening to music as you read this?

Total votes: 687
Language level: 


What do you think is the best way to find and listen to music? Tell us about your favourite music and how you like to listen to it.


HadiaSABAH's picture
HadiaSABAH 28 December, 2015 - 14:47

And yesss, i was listening to Perfect-By One Direction while reading this... Aren't they the BEST BAND ON THIS VERY planet we are living on!? I <3 1D :D

53 users have voted.
HadiaSABAH's picture
HadiaSABAH 28 December, 2015 - 14:44

I think that watching/hearing LIVE music is a better option because you can enjoy it with your "Fandom Family" as they say it like beliebers (Justin Beiber Fans) can sing along and have fun with eachother during the concert or even the example of Directioners (One Direction fans-I am too),have fun during a concert because when the boys start goofing around, it becomes more of a funny experience than a musical one which is ,well,DUH,AWESOME!!! Also , watching your idols is also a lot of FUN!Believe meyou don't want to go back home from the arena!

52 users have voted.
iva10's picture
iva10 14 June, 2015 - 12:53

I often visit YouTube channel and I listen music all day. I listen to every music that I like. I like the song impossible of James Arthur very much and I also like: rolling in the deep, Monday morning, counting stars and much more.

67 users have voted.
Looneytribute0002's picture
Looneytribute0002 14 May, 2015 - 16:22

I think sites like YouTube. Spotify and Sound Cloud are the best ways to listen to music as It's free, mostly legal(i guess),easy to use and a variety of different music is available . YouTube has a Vevo channel for many artists where their music/music videos are uploaded. My favorite genres of music are Rock in general as well as House and Dance music. I enjoy some bit of Hip-Hop and R&B as too. I strongly dislike Most pop music though...

72 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 30 April, 2015 - 15:42

Hi imadabad. I've edited your comment because YouTube video owners have not given permission for their videos to be downloaded, so you may be breaking copyright laws by doing this. Please do not share anything which may not be legal. Thanks,
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)
80 users have voted.
imadabad's picture
imadabad 19 May, 2015 - 16:47

sorry teacher but i want to help other peolpe there are some friends can't buy any programmes okay i agree with you about my fault but don't forget most people in the world can't find something to eat and do you think they will respect legal ???

72 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
Elsa007 20 May, 2015 - 09:15

Hi Imadabad, I'm curious to know what you commented...and I understand your willingness to help people, but I don't think it's wise to drum up your kindness showing something illegal for your friends... Indeed, there are people who're really in need of someone's help but can't even ask for...! I've seen that kind of people. Sorry, I might be too serious?! :)

68 users have voted.
Tommy99's picture
Tommy99 19 August, 2014 - 15:08

I love music, it's my life!!! I always listen to music everywhere. I really like three kinds of music: house music, heavy metal and rap music. I like artist like Nicky Romero, R3hab, Martin Garrix, Skrillex, Jason Derulo or Warfare, Slipknot, Hanger Theory and Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Afrojack, ecc.
I also think it isn't right to pay for the songs!

155 users have voted.
chaunguyen_cn's picture
chaunguyen_cn 12 August, 2014 - 07:02

I usually login on a few forums to listen teener talk about the new songs. Then I watch, listen it in music forum, Youtube. ect! I love music ..UK-US, K-pop, V-pop. When I stress, I listen it and then everything return to normal.

100 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 13 February, 2014 - 09:04

Hi nulitta,
This is a tricky question! Can anyone else who's interested in music help by watching the short clip and trying to answer the question? 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

171 users have voted.
Oliii98's picture
Oliii98 15 December, 2013 - 21:03

I love music. When I start to like one band I can't stop listening to it's songs. That why I listen to My Chemical Romance ( <3 ) and Linkin Park. I don't like pop music, and I really don't like many of popular singers or bands, because I think texts in their songs and videos are very shallow without any sense.

173 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 29 November, 2013 - 04:06

Hi SandraB. I would definitely encourage you to download music legally, especially to protect your computer from viruses and malware. You can also listen and view songs for free on video sites like YouTube. :)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

120 users have voted.