London's Marrakesh Records unveiled this week the results of a survey it commissioned on youth and music in the UK. We can't decide what's more interesting: the fact that the majority of British teens would rather go without sex than give up music for a week, or that the primary place they discover new music online is YouTube. Was that the sound of WMG executives crapping themselves in abject terror? Probably.
The survey (which you can read in its entirety here) polled more than 1,000 respondents between the ages of 15 and 24, and found that 60 percent of them would choose not getting laid for a week over not listening to music. The number increases for 16- to 19-year-olds, landing at 70 percent.
So while they're not getting any, how will they be discovering new music? The answer likely won't surprise you at all, although it might surprise the big labels who've been fighting it so hard lately: YouTube is the first stop for teens on the hunt for new bands online. Off the web, radio takes the prize, but online only 15 percent of respondents sought out new music on MySpace, just 8 percent on Facebook and 4 percent on LastFM and NME.
But beyond all this, there is some unsettling data in the survey. Take, for example, the fact that 61 percent of those surveyed don't feel they should have to pay for the music they listen to on the internet. That all on its own, not so bad. But the preceding question, which shows that 70 percent of respondents don't believe they should have to pay for music they download from the internet, makes it a little worse. The survey also indicated that roughly 43 percent of the music owned by its respondents was not paid for, which we can't help but think might be a bit of a low-ball.
So yeah, British teens wouldn't want to give up their iPods for a week, even if it meant going without sex. But maybe that's mostly true no matter what continent you're on. The real meat of this survey, though, is the feelings of the youth population on paying for music -- likely, the American teen sentiment isn't all that different, and these will be the perspectives that guide the future of the record industry.