May 9, 2003, 12:00 AM

Nearly a fourth of Internet users download music, NetRatings reports

Nearly 31 million active Internet users--22% of the active Internet population age 18 or older--downloaded music in the past 30 days, researchers Nielsen/NetRatings reports.

Nearly 31 million active Internet users--22% of the active Internet population age 18 or older--downloaded music in the past 30 days, researchers Nielsen/NetRatings reports. 71% of them also purchased music in the past three months. Six months ago, 29 million users had downloaded music, Nielsen/NetRatings says.

Among music downloaders, rap was the most common genre of music they purchased, with a downloader twice as likely to purchase a rap CD than the average Internet user. Almost as popular was dance and club music. Next was alternative rock, which downloaders were 77% more likely to purchase than the average Internet user.

"Recording industry executives are devoted to finding a successful business model for selling music online," said Greg Bloom, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. "The de facto standard may be a few years away but understanding the genres of music that sell well online and offline will be crucial to generating revenue along the way."

Cities with the most active music downloaders were Los Angeles, New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Boston and Houston. "The cities in the top five, like LA and NY, are not only epicenters for music development in the country but are some of the most wired cities in the nation," added Bloom.

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