AARP Tunes In to Radio's Discarded Audience
July 9, 2007 at 5:34 AM (PT)
While big radio and TV companies join with the advertising industry in chasing after the 18-to-34-year-old crowd, the music that appeals to pop culture's increasingly forgotten demographic -- the boomers -- is starting to appear in all sorts of odd places, reports THE WASHINGTON POST.
PAUL MCCARTNEY put his new album up for sale at STARBUCKS. JAMES TAYLOR launched his latest CD in HALLMARK shops. SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO cut a deal with NANCY SINATRA and retooled its standards channel as "Siriusly SINATRA." XM satellite radio responded by bringing on board DEANA MARTIN, daughter of DEAN, to host a program of VEGAS Rat Pack hits on the service's '50s channel.
Now, AARP -- the organization whose membership invitations deliver a shock of "You're old!" to boomers the moment they turn 50 -- is turning into a radio programmer and concert promoter, sponsoring a TONY BENNETT national tour, shows with ROD STEWART and EARTH, WIND AND FIRE, and a radio service designed to do what commercial radio won't: Recognize that the fastest-growing market for the music industry is people ages 45 and older.
"We're not done writing our soundtrack yet," says AARP Chief Brand Officer EMILIO PARDO. "Our membership -- the boomers -- are looking for options. We're at a stage where we want to experience new music and share our music with our kids and grandkids."
Unlike teenagers, who are more likely to download music, often illegally, boomers still buy lots of CDs. At AMAZON.COM, the five best-selling artists in the online merchant's history are THE BEATLES, U2, NORAH JONES, JOHNNY CASH and DIANA KRALL. The top five sellers last year included BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, BOB DYLAN and ANDREA BOCELLI -- all staples of the boomer crowd.