Kids shun Net for tube in quest of tunes

This month, LiveWire went on-line to talk to kids ages eight to 13 about where they go to get their music fix. We found that the while younger kids aren't taking full advantage of the Internet's vast music resources, they're making...
February 1, 2001

This month, LiveWire went on-line to talk to kids ages eight to 13 about where they go to get their music fix. We found that the while younger kids aren’t taking full advantage of the Internet’s vast music resources, they’re making up for it with

faithful tune-in to the king of media: TV.

What we found:

Kids stick to simple on the web

Our research shows that younger kids have not yet made the music connection on the Internet. In fact, less than a quarter of the kids we polled use the Internet for any music-related tasks, such as gathering information on groups, buying CDs or downloading music. About 40% of the kids polled say that they choose not to use Napster or MP3s. Another 40% report that they have never heard of either.

Although most of the kids we talked to may not know the latest technologies by name (what’s MP3?), good old streaming audio is still a very effective marketing tool.

Virtually all of the kids who say that they have searched out music on-line bought a CD after sampling it on the Internet.

Although all of the kids we polled are interested in getting the goods on their favorite musicians, we found that they turn to media other than the Internet to get the latest buzz. Although there are more than 170,000 music websites providing loads of background information and pictures of popular musicians and bands, a large majority of the kids on our panel dump the Net for TV when it comes to learning about their musical faves.

*NSYNC better eat at McD’s

Although music and the Internet aren’t as powerful a marketing combo with the younger set as they are with teens, music on TV is in full force with kids: More than three-quarters of the kids polled watch music videos on TV daily. Kids named MTV as their favorite music channel, followed by the Disney Channel and VH1. Kids not only enjoy watching music videos, they also gather most of the information on their favorite bands from TV.

Music videos aren’t the only places that kids see their favorite musicians onTV. Bands such as the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC have recently appeared in TV commercials for McDonald’s and Burger King. So what do kids think of these endorsements? Over three-quarters of our pollsters say that it’s either a good thing or they don’t care one way or the other. Letha, 13, from Illinois, says ‘it’s cool because I get to see them more.’

But marketers don’t have carte blanche-any hint of insincerity turns kids off fast. The majority of those who like the commercials qualified their opinions by saying the spots are only O.K. if musicians ‘really like the products’ they are promoting. Meanwhile, the kids who don’t approve say the celebrities are only doing commercials for the money. Matthew, 12, from Iowa, is upset about it because ‘the people appearing in these ads are being paid to pretend to like the product.’

What kids said:

We asked kids to create their own bands-the name, the style, the clothes-the whole deal. Girls tended to focus on enjoying the spotlight, while the boys were more interested in making lots of noise.

‘ I would call my band The People. I would play the drums in the band. I wouldn’t sing. I would wear a T-shirt, baggy pants, socks, shoes and a hat. Our songs would be about nonsense stuff.’ Brett, 8, New Jersey

‘ It would be called Girl Power. I would play the drums and sing. I would dress like Britney Spears. My songs would be about things that happen to kids just like me-everyday life things like dating boys, going to a party, going to the movies, shopping or school.’ Samantha, 10, New York

‘ I would call it Jn’B. I would play the sax. I would wear casual clothes. My songs would be about life.’ Kyle, 12, Maryland

‘ I would dance while singing. I would wear really cool clothes with my belly showing. The songs would be about what happens in school. I would call it the BB’s.’ Brianna, 8, New York

‘ My band would be a rock band, not one that tries too hard to show off or cuss that much. I would sing about my fans, my life and little things that just pop in my head. I’d wear whatever would be in style or I’d make up my own styles. I would be the lead singer and dancer.’ Kristin, 13, Pennsylvania

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