The Country Music Association recently released a report on country music fans that included a surprising statistic — about half of them have no Internet access at home. Not no broadband-access, no access at all. Even more surprising: About 42% were okay with keeping their home offline and no plans to get Internet access at home.
As might be expected, young country music fans (that is younger in age, not necessarily fans of the Young Country format) were more likely to be online than older listeners. It’s also worth nothing that they may have access at work or other locations, just not at home.
That said, the finding that more than four out of ten core country music fans are uninterested in home Internet access is raising eyebrows among record labels and artists. In other formats, digital downloads are changing the nature of the industry, and the Internet and social media are important for both new and established artists. Do labels and artists have to take a different approach with country?
And then comes the radio question. Can country music stations hold off on investing in new media, streaming, podcasts, etc., if nearly half of the core audience is not engaging with the music online?