I emailed Prof. Adrian North asking about funding and where the study cited in so many papers was published (none of the stories I read cited the publication. He kindly responded:
"The study wasn't funded unfortunately. The full citation is ...
North, A. C., Hargreaves, D. J., and Hargreaves, J. J. (2004). The uses of music in everyday life. Music Perception, 22, 63-99."
From the abstract it sounds like a very different paper than the media made it out to be.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Download generation 'apathetic'
thoughts when I read the initial interpretations in the press
1) why would a format that often is free feel more like a commodity than one that was also an object (eg a cd or a record?)
2) there has been a boom and resurgence of a participatory music culture (as opposed to passive consumer culture) with the advent of mp3s and music downloading. There seems to be no awareness of this phenomenon (and the related boom in self-made recordings and DIY performance)
3)there seems to be a bias towards performed music as opposed to recorded music
4) what are the implications of sharing music and the passion that can display
Also, the power of the press release and spin is an amazing thing. Here is a study from 2 years ago made relevant by invoking the emotional idea about apathy and the popularity of iPods.