Users of Twitter buy more music than people who don't Twitter, according to a new study released from NPD Group. This seems to be a classic halo-effect, but is it actually being caused by Twitter?
NPD's statistics seem plain enough—33% of Twitterers bought a CD in the previous three months, and 34% bought a digital download. Both of those are above the average 'net user (whose figures come in at 24% and 16% respectively). And when Twitterers did buy music online they tend to buy lots, some 77% more than non-Twitterers.
But record labels shouldn't leap onto Twitter and start smoking hashtags just yet. Trying to make sense of these figures can lead down some logical blind alleyways. For example, it's easy to suggest that Twitterers buy more music because they hear about it via their network of friends on Twitter, aided by it's one-to-many broadcasting style. Or that users follow a bunch of favorite bands' Tweets and download the newest albums the moment they hear about them. Unfortunately, that assumes the cause and effect starts at Twitter and moves out. It's also equally possible that people who Twitter are just generally more social people, who may be inclined to buy more music, or at the very least hear about new albums through one of a number of different social sites they're also a member of, like Facebook.
NPD's stats do confirm one obvious thing, however: Twitterers are worth more to the music industry than non-Twitterers. Curiously, according to some other data revealed recently, music pirates are also worth more to the music industry than the average 'net user. For some reason, I imagine the litigious RIAA is more inclined to favor the Twitter news.