Listen up! Study touts digital

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As digital music services have become more popular, music fans are spending more to purchase tunes and attend more concerts, according to a new study by an online industry trade group.

According to the Digital Music Assn.'s study released Wednesday, nearly 60% of online music consumers said they listen to more music since they started using an online service, and 15% said they have decided to attend more concerts.

The online survey by Insight-Express of 1,008 respondents helps bolster arguments by DiMA and others that digital music sales are bolstering the music industry, which has flagged in recent years.

According to the survey, about half of digital music fans are spending more than $200 per year on music, and nearly 30% are spending more than $300.

"Prior to the digital age, someone who purchased six CDs per year — valued at just over $100 — was considered a significant music consumer," DiMA executive director Jonathan Potter said. "Online music consumers' spending habits, combined with what they are doing to promote and expand music enjoyment, is great for the entire music industry — artists, songwriters and producers."

DiMA contends that the music services, from digital and satellite radio to iTunes and Rhapsody, also are expanding consumers' tastes.

About 25% reported having discovered a lot of new artists, while more than 60% of consumers surveyed said they have discovered some new artists. Nearly seven in 10 online music consumers are enjoying new genres of music since listening to online music services.

"These findings demonstrate that real music fans, and today's music tastemakers, are online," Potter added. "This makes the 2006 holiday sales jump in music devices and sound recordings exponentially more important to artists, songwriters, producers and music publishers as online music's impact extends way beyond immediate revenues."

Record industry representatives said the study reflects the changing marketplace for music.

"This is further evidence that holiday spikes in digital music sales are not one-time blips but a reflection of a growing digital music marketplace," RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy said. "It's important to note that findings like these are good news not just for online music stores. Our research tells us that avid online music fans are heavy consumers of both CDs and digital downloads. A rising tide lifts all boats."
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