Social Networking Surge Continues, Monetization Questions Remain

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As social networking destinations continue to explode, the rules are being rewritten on music promotion and discovery.

But questions continue to linger on the best ways – if any – to monetize the action.

Most younger users are dialed into at least one social network, and music is usually threaded throughout the experience.  In fact, 39 percent of all social networkers embed music into their profiles, according to a recent UK-based survey by Entertainment Media Research.  Users of MySpace and Bebo have much higher rates, at 63 and 65 percent, respectively.

Incidentally, Facebook lagged behind in its association with music, though the company is quickly beefing its music component.  Overall, surveyed users indicated that social networks are a primary source for music discovery, an unsurprising discovery.  But users also indicated a receptivity towards network-based purchasing, at least in the survey.  In total, 46 percent of respondents wished for an easier way to purchase music discovered on a network.

That sounds encouraging, though an early-stage experiment involving MySpace and Snocap has been rocky.  Meanwhile, executives frequently question survey results related to music purchasing, especially from younger users.