31 January 2008

Could social networking sites save the music industry?

Especially among 15- to 25-year-olds, people seem to need their peers to validate their musical tastes, making the Internet a perfect medium for the intersection of MP3s and mob psychology. The challenge is to draw young people away from file-sharing networks that don't bother with legal licenses. So "added value" has become the new hook, or as one industry participant put it at a music industry gathering this week, "a better form of free." Imeem and Bebo are two Web sites trading on the idea that music is a social phenomenon, and that the Internet is the place to be to gather around it. Imeem asks, "What's on your playlist?," while Bebo calls itself a "social media network."