Thursday, July 17, 2008

YPulse Mashup Part One - Teen Music Trends and the Go-Go's

I spent Monday and Tuesday at the fabulous YPulse Mashup in San Francisco, a conference that brings together folks interested in youth, media and technology. I've been a teen pop culture fanatic for years, so the YPulse blog and conference are amazing fun for me.

Although the conference wasn't specifically focused on music, there were still many presentations about music and references to indie culture and radio. Besides that, I met numerous people there who worked with radio, had college radio pasts, or who were passionate about indie music.

On Monday, Jacqueline Lane, of the Teen Eyes division of C&R research, did a fast and furious presentation full of stats on the youth market. In terms of music, she told us that 62% of teens (and 46% of tweens) go to music websites and 35% of teens (33% of tweens) spend money on music.

Reiterating that the music biz is not dead, Damon Whiteside from Walt Disney Records, did a keynote on Tuesday about the huge successes that their record label has had with young pop stars like Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, and Hilary Duff. He explained that tweens are actually the "driving force" in music sales right now, which means that Walt Disney Records is doing better than ever, with sales up 60% from last year. He also told us that Radio Disney has the top tween radio network with its terrestrial and satellite stations. He acknowleged that music trends change quickly, meaning that in a few years the obsession with teen pop stars may again dwindle.

One of the most interesting tidbits of all, was Damon's news about the in-the-works girl rock band KSM, which was originally supposed to be a Go-Go's redo called the Po-Go's (with the blessing and involvement of the original band). KSM's debut album of originals (not Go-Go's covers) is coming out in 2009 and I'm kind of intrigued.

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