Today the Fast Company Blog profiled Pandora. They observed a key to why Pandora (and Last.fm) are so revolutionary- they're timesavers that allow busy people to find music. The article quotes founder Tim Westgren on the pitfalls of staying in touch with a hectic real life schedule, "People don't lose their love of music,they lose their ability to connect with it."
I'm one of these "adult" creatures, but I differ from my peers because my label is still active with young bands. I'm still a part of "the scene", but I still use last.fm and Pandora as part of my discovery process.
That's the ball game isn't it? Convenience. With smaller, buyer-friendly record stores going out of business or eliminating deeper catalog in favor of "lifestyle" items, and the big box stores only picking up sure sell faceless product- the adult music lover with a non-pop taste has nowhere to go. So these busy users abandon music for other, more easily acquired entertainment. These services step up and take the place of the Jack Black character in High Fidelity for finding new tunes.
FC continues the profile with an opt-in poll (take it below!) on how their readers find out about new music. It's too early to tell as I write this, but I imagine the results will be interesting. Although the non-random nature of the participants will not be accurate in a statistical sense, it'll be a good qualitative study of tech-savvy bizfolk.
How do I listen and buy? I discover new bands through a short daily troll of myspace, purevolume, webzines, bulletin boards, while listening to various podcasts, Pandora, Last.fm, or Rhapsody. If I'm excited enough about the band, my digital purchases are made primarily from Emusic & iTunes, though I still get odd CD at my local indie record shop. But in general, my consumption of music is about 90% digital.
Where are you?