Online Music Going Boom

According to a new report, the number of adults going online to access music-related content has exploded in the few months, increasing 48% between December 1999 and March 2000. These numbers are based on recent findings released by market analysts Cyber Dialogue, who say that "The dramatic growth in online music users can be attributed to the media's newfound obsession with Napster, Gnutella, and MP3. When combined with a marked increase in online music offerings and the proliferation of file-sharing software, the increase in demand for online music makes perfect sense."

Cyber Dialogue's Peter Clemente adds that "Music users also have deeper pockets than their average online counterparts, spending up to $100 more per year. On average, online adults spent $509 online in the past 12 months, while the average music user spent $610 online for the same period." The survey also shows that, once online, music users are more likely than average users to employ a variety of enabling software programs such as Real Audio, Shockwave, or MP3 in order to access entertainment content.

The kids might be a lost cause, with Napster their prefered method for downloading pirated tunes, but the big labels are clearly going after the baby boomers as they announce more artists and songs being offered for paid downloading. Case in point: Last week, Virgin/EMI and Atlantic Records announced that songs would be made available from boomer favorites David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. EMI had previously announced that it would be putting more than 100 albums online for sale this week, including works from Pink Floyd and Frank Sinatra.

Virgin, a label controlled by EMI, says that among the Bowie titles being released are: Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, Earthling, Heroes, hours . . . , Hunky Dory, Let's Dance, Lodger, Low, The Man Who Sold the World, Never Let Me Down, Outside, Pin-Ups, The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Scary Monsters, Space Oddity, Station to Station, Tonight, Young Americans, and Tin Machine.

Additional artists and songs from EMI's extensive catalog are expected to be added in the coming months. The company says that the downloads are available at over 800 Internet retailer sites, including, Tower Records, and CDnow.

Where EMI is charging for fans to obtain its music online, as part of a Liquid Audio campaign launching last week, two Led Zeppelin tracks, "All My Love" and "Rock & Roll," are now available as free digital downloads, added to a list spanning 1400 Liquid tracks.