A free online music streaming service launched by the AARP is hoping to capitalize on a rather untapped market: Baby boomers' love of music and relative inexperience with the digital music landscape.
Launched last month, the 18-channel player is programmed by the Concord Music Group, reports the New York Times. Concord is known for publishing works by artists popular with baby boomers, and has benefited in recent years by older Americans' willingness to purchase physical CDs, which are more profitable for record companies.
While boomers embraced Rock and Roll and experimentation at Woodstock, the developers recognize they might be frustrated by the digital music experience. To remedy this, the player, which is hosted by the AARP website, features a simple design. The only controls are pause, play, and forward (to skip to a different song).
"We've always been trying to reach this audience, because we know that boomers are so passionate about music," Hugh Delehanty, Editor of AARP's publications told the Times. "We also feel that because of changes in format and whatnot, a lot of them have gotten lost in terms of how to find their music."
The music isn't limited to the classics the 60s and 70s generation enjoyed in their younger days. The Modern Hits channel features songs by recent artists such as Paramore, Rascal Flats, and Kelly Clarkson. Other stations specialize in jazz, R&B, gospel, classic rock, and oldies.
"Everyone has a certain affinity for the music of their youth," Marc Morgenstern, Concord's chief market and asset development officer told the Times. "But people really do want to find something new, something that may not stray far from what they're familiar with but bring a huge gust of fresh air."
The Times reports the licensing fees for the free service will be paid for by advertising, and the AARP and Concord will share profits.