Two New Studies Suggest Music Industry Shuns Adult Market

Durham, NC, USA – Two market- research firms, NPD Intellect (NPD) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), have recently released reports submitting that the music industry has ignored the adult, 36- to 50-year-old, market and is doing so at its own peril. Overall music sales dropped 10% in the first quarter stacked against last year’s sales. But, as NPD data shows, sales among the older adult market revealed a sharp 16% drop. Warnings suggest that if the industry continues to ignore the over-36 audience it could see further declines in sales.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported that last year the over-30 market made up 56% of music sales in the United States. NPD reported that only a slim 4% of older adult music purchases were swayed by advertising. Research also suggested that over-35 purchasers were likely to ignore radio advertising in favor of in store browsing.

With the teen and college markets unlikely to see much growth, music industry watchers say that concerted efforts, such as new marketing and advertising campaigns, will have to be made to redress the current trend of chasing the teen dollar.

Adding insult to injury, PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) data made it clear that the older listener won’t have much to chose from when it comes to selection. With older consumers more reluctant to go to the Internet for music and mass merchants, such as Best Buy, Walmart, and Trans World Entertainment Corp. (operator of FYE, Strawberries and Coconuts stores), who characteristically reserve shelf space for blockbusters aimed at a young crowd, more mature audiences increasingly are left out in the cold.

Critics have proposed that mass merchants, who are blamed with obstructing the sales and the potential of less established artists in favor of the quick buck offered by artists backed up by major record company publicity machines, are part of the problem in slighting older listeners. The results of the continuation of this trend will mean a smaller and smaller pool of only “established” artists and a back catalog with little promise of continuing sales. Shrinking the development of artists will further diminish the market and mean more money woes for the ailing record industry.

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