The good news? More and more teenagers are willing to shell out for the music they enjoy. The bad news? They won't save your favorite neighborhood record store. While the kids are still buying music--even CDs--they're more likely to pick up their tunes from corporate giants like iTunes and Walmart than from the used record store down the block. High Fidelity-style indie shops are still fading into anachronism, but hey, at least we're seeing some cashflow into the industry.
A new Nielsen study shows that teens of today are reversing the piracy trends set by teens of the early aughts. While P2P and torrenting services live on, frequent legal attacks on websites like The Pirate Bay and Megaupload have put a damper on teens' likelihood to steal an album rather than stream it or buy it. In fact, teens are the most likely age group to purchase music; a total of 72% of teens bought a record in the past year, compared to a 68% national average. So the kids are kicking it old-school and actually throwing honest dollars at the music they like. Good for them.
Of the many ways we're able to consume music on the internet, YouTube and similar free streaming services came out on top among the 13 to 19 crowd. A total of 64% of surveyed teens expressed their preference for YouTube, but that doesn't mean that radio's dead. More than half of teens (56%) still tune the dial in to their favorite music channel, while exactly half of the kids these days are still buying CDs. Yep, real CDs--encoded plastic and jewel cases and paper sleeves and all.
While CDs aren't quite dead yet either, the sad news is that teens aren't picking them up from the record stores of yesteryear. If they go physical at all, they're most likely to buy their records at superstores like Target or Walmart. Only 4% of polled teens reported having patronized an indie retail shop for music in the past year, while 39% swung by their local Walmart to buy records.
Still, hearing that money's going back to music is good news indeed. Are we becoming more ethical listeners, or are methods of piracy simply becoming less transparent?