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Music sites click with over-50 demo

MP3.com grows 216% with older users

NEW YORK — Challenging stereotypes about those with avid interests in both music and the Internet, Media Metrix research has found that roughly 7 million Americans age 50 or older visited music-related Internet sites in June. That number has grown twice as quickly as the figure for the general population over the past year, the study concluded.

Media Metrix’s research, which tallied data from music entertainment, retailing and multimedia software sites such as Real.com and WindowsMedia.com, also found that Americans 35 and older constitute the majority of users for Internet media players.

That population, typically characterized as needing advice from their pre-adolescent kids to even turn on a computer, also contributes nearly 1.8 million members to the user base of Napster, the embattled free music file-sharing service often associated with college-age users with high-speed ‘Net access.

By comparison, U.S.-based Napster users between 18 and 34 number only 1.6 million, the study found.

MP3.com on a roll

Among sites in the music entertainment category, growth in older users topped 131% from June 1999 to June 2000. Music download site MP3.com experienced some of the strongest growth, with users age 50-plus increasing 216% to 448,000.

Online music retailers also swelled their customer ranks with older Americans over the past year, the data showed. U.S. retail site users over 50 were 4.4 million strong in June 2000, a 72% jump from the prior year.

The largest single block of those e-customers — more than 2.6 million — landed at Amazon.com. But BMGMusicService.com, the online retailing arm of major label BMG Entertainment, registered the most impressive growth, leaping 319% to 570,000 users.

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