Why Buy the Cow When You Can Stream the MP3 for Free?

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A new study shows that teens 13-17 collected significantly less music in 2008 than in the previous year, regardless of whether they paid for it. Kids today! Market research firm NPD Group found a sharp drop in purchases of CDs and digital downloads (19 percent and 23 percent respectively), but a whopping 28 percent fewer teens bothered to rip CDs from their friends, and there was a slight downturn in tracks illegally downloaded from peer-to-peer sources too.

The slowing economy is an obvious culprit, and many teens also cited a lack of interest in new, available music. The study seems to show music is likely more prevalent than ever via streaming and related formats, which has reduced teens’ interest in actually possessing material when it’s so readily accessible. We predict that confused major labels will shoot themselves in the foot in every way possible. And then come up with some magical (bad) solution that involves Twitter.

In related news, 2009 Q1 managed to squeak by without a single platinum-selling record. I mean, how much Lady GaGa do people need to hear before they buy the album? Don’t answer that.