Opinion and analysis of the day's music news.


Study: Radio Listening Dips
-- American youths are spending more time on the Internet and less time listening to radio, according to a new Edison Research study of 12- to 24-year-olds. Daily radio listening has dropped to 1:24 (hour:minutes per day) from 2:43 in 2000. Time spent on the Internet has jumped to 2:52 a day from 0:59 in 2000. Time spent watching television has increased slightly to 2:47 per day in 2010 from 2:37 in 2000.

Youths are not solely enjoying streaming media. Forty percent of them listen to tracks transferred or downloaded to their mobile devices.
Sixty-five percent have downloaded (either legally or illegally) music over the Internet. That means 35% have never downloaded a digital music file over the Internet. That number is a big jump from 69% in 2000, but still shows that a large segment of America’s youth are not even in the digital music game.

The sources of their downloads vary. At 23%, iTunes is the source of downloads for the most respondents. P2P services are a close second at 19% and sharing (via email, flash drives or other means) is third at 13%. Music blogs are used by 12% and artist web sites are used by 10%.

Internet radio appears to be far less popular than MP3s among this crowd. Just 18% report listening to Pandora or other Internet-only radio services and 16% say they listen to online streams of broadcast radio. Forty-six percent own an iPod or other portable MP3 player while just 7% own an iPhone. While 87% own a mobile phone, 43% of them own smart phones capable of streaming audio.

For music discovery, the radio and friends are the top two sources at 88% and 90%, respectively. Pandora-like services are a source of discovery for only 42% of respondents while streaming broadcast radio enables music discovery for just 36%.
(Edison Research)


Concert Biz Takes A Hit Among Youths
-- The big shocker in the Edison study was the sharp drop in the average number of concerts attended by 12- to 24-year-olds. In 2000 this age group reported an average of 2.1 concerts in the last year. In 2010, this group’s average number of concerts had dropped to just 0.9 per year.

Across the board – heavy concertgoers, lighter concertgoers – reported concert attendance is down. In 2000, 24% said they had gone to three or more concerts. In 2010 that number was just 12%. In 2000, 43% reported not going to a single concert. In 2010, that figure has risen to 64%.

The timing of the survey can explain some of the drop. The U.S. is currently in a recession and youth unemployment is very high (19.1% of 18- to 24-year-olds in July, the highest since records were first kept in 1948). In 2000, however, the economy was strong. The effects of the Internet stock crash would not be felt until 2001. That eight-month recession was not nearly as bad as the recession we’re in now.


Citi Likens EMI To 'Terminally Ill Cancer Patient'
-- It seems that Citigroup, which loaned Terra Firma money to help it acquire EMI in 2007, was immediately wary of EMI’s financial health. One person inside Citigroup actually referred to EMI as a “terminally ill cancer patient.” Recall that Terra Firma executives have long said they learned the extent of EMI’s financial troubles only after the deal was closed.

A report at the Financial Times offers glimpses into Citigroup emails and related testimony from the trial.

“’Oh dear, Oh dear! These must be very valuable relationships for us to have extended again. I can see us taking a huge loss on this deal,” (senior credit officer Ian Cockerill) wrote. Another senior credit officer at Citigroup later described EMI as a ‘terribly ill cancer patient.’
Mr Cockerill, appearing on the 11th day of the trial, testified that the EMI loans were placed in the bank’s troubled loans unit on the very day the deal closed….

Citigroup began writing down the value of the loans as soon as June 2008, Mr Cockerill testified, implying that by then the bank believed that EMI was worth less than its debt, leaving Terra Firma’s equity worthless.” (Financial Times)


LimeWire Cuts Staff
-- LimeWire has laid off 30% of its staff – 29 of 100 employees – in the wake of last week’s court order to shut down operations of its P2P software. In a statement, CEO George Searle said the layoffs are part of a restructuring aimed to help brings its new music service to market.
Billboard can confirm LimeWire is working on a legal music service that would require all the usual licensing deals to compete with similar services currently on the market (as well as yet-to-be-launched services by Google and, possibly, Apple). The labels’ lawsuit against LimeWire will reach the penalty phase in January 2011. (MediaMemo)


Boxee To Launch Nov. 10
-- The Boxee Box starts shipping in a few days and launches on November 10, according to an email sent by Boxee on Tuesday. The set-top box provides an Internet-connected TV experience similar to Google TV and Roku. In addition to the video content it accesses, Boxee also organizes the music on your computer’s hard drive, displays it on the TV and streams it. In the U.S. the device is available at Amazon.com for $199.99.


Cyber Group Hacks RIAA
"The website of the Recording Industry Association of America was hacked over the weekend by a cyber group calling itself "Anonymous," in response to a court-ordered shutdown of a popular music file-sharing site, LimeWire, last week." (tennessean)