AT 52, Martha Stinson is not quite sure where to turn when it comes to new music. The local Tower Records in Nashville, where Mrs. Stinson is an owner of a general contracting company, is going out of business, and she never did figure out how to load music onto the digital-music player she bought a couple of years ago.
But she may soon receive an overture from a source not known for its musical savvy: AARP. She is the kind of consumer that the association is targeting with a sweeping marketing campaign that it hopes will entice millions of new members, as the first kids weaned on rock â€™nâ€™ roll turn gray.
[…] â€œI hope that we make this thing so relevant and so cool,â€ said Tena Clark, a music consultant helping to devise the groupâ€™s marketing strategy. â€œI would hope that one day in the future that my 20-year-old daughter would want to borrow my AARP card to get into a concert just like she tries to borrow her sisterâ€™s I.D.â€
Consumers like Ms. Stinson may not be the only skeptics however. For musicians, a deal with AARP is a different matter than a deal with a hip coffee house or a fashion retailer. No matter how hard the group may try to change its image â€” even with the likes of Paul McCartney and Susan Sarandon on the cover of its magazine â€” some people still associate it with the Saturday-night-bingo set. And many musicians may want to keep their distance, even if it means sacrificing enormous sales.
[…] Now they control too much disposable income â€” and live too long â€” to be ignored. And nowhere is the shift in attitudes more pronounced than in the beleaguered pop music business, which desperately needs their money (who do you think is buying all those $750 Barbra Streisand tickets?) and shares their aversion to illicit music downloads.