Saturday, August 11, 2007

Music for old folks

As I posted on an earlier blog, I don't steal music.

I like to download music, but I don't like dealing with all the infuriating impedimenta strewn about by the mega-music conglomerates in the path of ease of use.

DRM (digital rights management) is one such piece of junk, and is one reason why I disdain those services that employ it, and use the eMusic service instead.

Then, today, I read this:

the digital music market has overlooked older music fans for far too long and that the time has come to start teaching old dogs new tricks.

Although the assumption is that digital music is a format for young adults, studies show that older users are in fact quite active with new media.

A December Ipsos TEMPO survey found 35- to 54-year-olds made up 31 percent of those users who paid for music downloads. When you include those 55 and over, adults beyond the age of 34 make up about 40 percent of all paid a la carte downloaders -- twice the proportion that teens account for. They also download more songs than average: nine per month compared with the average five across all generations.

Here's an age group that is more willing to pay for music than younger fans and has mor e money to do so. So why has it been left out of the picture?

For starters, the older demographic in general is less interested in new music. An April Ipsos survey found that 67 percent of music downloaders aged 34-54 say they look for older music not easily found in record stores, while 41 percent pointed to current hits. But those figures can increase dramatically when focused on niche genres like jazz or classical.

Some of Blue Note's releases that don't get much placement in record stores experience 30 percent or more digital sales, far above the industry average. For Robert Glasper's "In My Element," released in March, 49 percent of its first-week sales, and 31 percent of its total sales to date, have been digital.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma's Sony Classics release "Appassionato" sold more digital copies than physical ones upon its release in January. It peaked at No. 2 on the iTunes sales chart and finished the first week with 57.1 percent of its sales digital; to date, 30 percent of its sales have been digital.

"It's a tiny fraction (of digital music buyers), but they're people who buy a massive amount of music," Hochkeppel said.

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”, I chortle in my joy!

The world's largest recording conglomerate - United Music Group (how's that for a musically troped name - not!) - has announced that it will, at least for a limited period, release some of its music for download without DRM (and not through iTunes!). And the smaller Blue Note Music has announced that, later this month, it is to become

a social network and digital music store for fans of jazz and blues.

What exactly that means, we'll wait and see. But step by step, inch by inch, kicking and screaming, the music companies seem to be turning away from silliness and towards emusic as a usable commodity.

Read my earlier post on DRM and downloading music here. last.FM title=

PS. I'm writing this blog while listening to Art Blakey's At the Cafe Bohemia via Get with it music conglomerates!

PPS. And having finished yardwork and other chores, I'm drinking Lagunitas' Undercover Shutdown Ale. It tastes somewhat like a Clipper City Winter Storm, but done up stronger. More grapefruity in hop aroma than Winter Storm, but like it, copious crystal malts in the grist provide an amber hue and caramel backbone to the bitterness.

It's named for a 'hoppy' party which got the Lagunitas brewery penalized by the California constabulary.

Undercover is nearly 10% abv, but even so, I noticed a review on Beer Advocate which referred to it as a session beer. Now, that's simply wacky! Or more diplomatically, it's a claim to own a better liver or be a better man that I would ever want to have or be.

It speaks to issues raised in earlier post of mine.

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