Lately I've been pondering the question: If nobody listens to pop radio anymore, how do they find new music?
The need to find an answer became more urgent last night when I was watching The Simpsons. Middle-aged and cynical Mrs. Krabappel was driving to work and singing along to McCartney's wistful 1971 hit, "Another Day." I was with her so far, since I've probably done the same thing at least twice in the last month. Then, blammo! Some teens in the next car yell, "Look at that old lady, singing a song that's a million years old!" Gah.
At this point you might be asking what this has to do with publishing, as opposed to my midlife crisis. The answer is that the music business should serve as publishing's canary in the coalmine. We need to watch how they handle the impact of technology (so far, not great) for clues on how publishing will face similar issues. Or even better, I need to understand how younger people perceive content consumption in the digital age.
So, I'm asking the younger readers: How do you discover new music to listen to? How many times do you need to hear a song before you decide to buy (or steal) it? I have so many more questions, but let's start with those.
Now, for my fellow oldsters. How do you break out of the musical time warp you've created for yourself with your iPod and your satellite radio and the retro programming on traditional radio? It's quite possible for us to go through an entire day and not hear a song that was released after 1989. So how do we break out of that and find new music to enjoy? (A corollary: Is my interest in Death Cab for Cutie as embarrassing as when my mom got into Mellencamp?)