Female high fidelity

Women defy expectations by driving digital music sales.

Rebecca Traister
May 16, 2006 3:30PM (UTC)

According to the Guardian, the worm has turned when it comes to women and their music collections. Apparently, chicks are now driving the music industry in Britain, leading one magazine executive to dub them the "MP-She" generation.

According to the paper, music marketers used to refer to their target buyer as "the fifty-quid bloke," a guy who would drop a sizable wad of dough on lots of new CDs at one time. But apparently, MP3 players have changed the dynamics by allowing women "to circumvent intimidating record shop assistants." In addition to buying tunes, ladies are also reading music magazines. "The traditional image of the music press as a male preserve has been shattered," says the Guardian.


I guess I'd never really considered music mania a male pursuit, and I find the claim that women are buying more because they don't have to deal with "intimidating record shop assistants" a little sketchy: Did the Tower guy really scare that many people off? On the other hand, it is sort of disconcerting to reimagine Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" as the tale of a flummoxed woman who organizes her favorite songs and favorite men into "Top 10" lists.

The Guardian story is a twofer special, since in addition to correcting assumptions about women's tentative relationships with their record collections, it also sheds some light on exactly how easily they're taking advantage of new technology. And it makes me think, for the 12th time this week, that it's really extremely embarrassing that I don't own an iPod.

Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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