At the Internet Crossroads: Social Networking Meets Music

As the social-networking and online music businesses matured, they were destined to merge. While Napster et al. unleashed music to the wilds of the Internet, iTunes, which recently celebrated its five-billionth download, ushered in an era of new monetized online music. In April, social-networking giant MySpace launched MySpace Music(1), and RealNetwork's Rhapsody has refreshed Yahoo! Music and hooked up with Facebook, MySpace, Google's (GOOG) Orkut and Bebo.(2) Music has always been consumed socially, so it was only logical for social-networking sites looking to deepen their connections with consumers to identify it as one of the first places to turn. The under-30 set comprises the biggest social-networking and music-downloading audience. This week's MONITOR Minute uses the Yankelovich MONITOR to profile a subset of online Echoes who both download music and visit social-networking sites, all in an effort to better understand the needs and opportunities that lie in connecting with these consumers.