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Streaming Music On Smartphones Is Popular

Smartphone users like to use the devices to listen to music, and that’s a trend that is on the upswing, according to new information from NPD Group. 56% of smartphone users listen to music on their devices, with 39% of them doing that daily. Of those, they mostly listen to Internet radio (65%), but also stream on demand services like Spotify or Rhapsody (30%) and listen to their own music (it’s not clear whether it’s on the device or streamed from a cloud service) as well.

Music listening on mobile devices extends to tablets as well, with 40% of tablet users listening to music on those devices.

Ovi Music - on the go

Ovi Music – on the go (Photo credit: Nokia RSA)

The Audio Consumption study done by NPD Group also observes that hardware of products that enhance wireless local playback of streaming services on mobile devices, like wireless speakers and headphones, are growing as a result of this trend. “With both local music storage and the ability to connect to any number of online music services, tablets and smartphones are actually contributing to a net increase in their owner’s use of internet radio and personal music collections,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD.  “As a result, we are seeing sales growth in products that compliment playback on mobile devices, particularly those that feature wireless local streaming.” Wireless streaming speaker sales more than tripled in 2012, and wireless headphones grew by 34 percent.

NPD Group’s Russ Crupnick is a featured speaker at the upcoming RAIN Summit West on Sunday April 7th at the Las Vegas Hotel. For more information and to register, click here.

Streaming Music On Smartphones Is Popular

Smartphone users like to use the devices to listen to music, and that’s a trend that is on the upswing, according to new information from NPD Group. 56% of smartphone users listen to music on their devices, with 39% of them doing that daily. Of those, they mostly listen to Internet radio (65%), but also stream on demand services like Spotify or Rhapsody (30%) and listen to their own music (it’s not clear whether it’s on the device or streamed from a cloud service) as well.

 

Music listening on mobile devices extends to tablets as well, with 40% of tablet users listening to music on those devices.

 

Ovi Music - on the go

Ovi Music – on the go (Photo credit: Nokia RSA)

 

The Audio Consumption study done by NPD Group also observes that hardware of products that enhance wireless local playback of streaming services on mobile devices, like wireless speakers and headphones, are growing as a result of this trend. “With both local music storage and the ability to connect to any number of online music services, tablets and smartphones are actually contributing to a net increase in their owner’s use of internet radio and personal music collections,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD.  “As a result, we are seeing sales growth in products that compliment playback on mobile devices, particularly those that feature wireless local streaming.” Wireless streaming speaker sales more than tripled in 2012, and wireless headphones grew by 34 percent.

 

NPD Group’s Russ Crupnick is a featured speaker at the upcoming RAIN Summit West on Sunday April 7th at the Las Vegas Hotel. For more information and to register, click here.

 

Consumers That Stream Also Listen To FM In Cars

Nearly 40% of smartphone owners have used their device to listen to a streaming music service while in their car, according to new research by NPD Group on automotive connectivity. Devices and ways to connect them have become a serious focus for the auto industry. 79% of car owners are using a digital device in their cars.

It appears at this point that streaming in the car is used to supplement listening to traditional radio – according to NPD’s Ben Arnold, seventy three percent of drivers report still using their FM radio “always” or “most of the time” during car trips while more than half (57 percent) of vehicle owners say a CD player is vital in their decision to buy a car stereo or entertainment system.

The desire to consume connected content is a challenge for the auto industry as well – as they focus on best ways to integrate mobile connectivity into the car with minimal driver distraction. Apple’s voice controlled Siri  and Microsoft’s motion controlled product found in Kinect are technologies that automakers are looking to integrate into the equation.

Meanwhile, in place of smooth integration, consumers are finding ways to connect their mobile devices using auxillary inputs (18%), USB ports (11%), and Bluetooth technology (56%). This fact – that consumers are so interested in developing workaround ways to use their connected devices in their cars, is a huge indicator of the desirability for a more connected dashboard.

“The key is for auto makers and traditional audio manufacturers to facilitate consumer use of connected devices in the vehicle, allowing content from the smartphone, tablet, or digital media player to easily stream or be controlled through the deck mounted in the dashboard,” Arnold said.  “We’re only going to see greater consumer attachment to social media, streaming audio and video, and other services as content options grow.”

Study: More Americans Are Listening On Connected Devices In Cars

Americans spend a lot of time listening to music in their cars. According to a new report by NPD Group, two out of three Americans say most of their music listening happens in cars. Most of that listening is still to radio and cds – but that appears to be changing.

flickr: andrewarchy

The report shows that 80% of Americans listened to radio in their cars and that is a two point drop from a year ago. 53% listened to cds, which is down 4 points from a year ago. Meanwhile 29% are listening on a connected device which could be a smart phone or iTouch. That number is up 9 points from a year ago. Time spent listening with those devices has increased 9% as well.

“A tipping point is approaching when vehicles and portable devices move from a tethered connection to a more integrated one,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president and entertainment analyst for The NPD Group. “Smart devices streaming music could end up being the largest threat to CDs and broadcast radio since the dawn of digital music.”

More evidence that consumers are shifting to connected mobile devices for music. Pandora now has 70% of their audience on those mobile devices. Last week I featured a post about Mary Meeker‘s latest presentation which is all about mobile, and the way that mobile will make online audio the next big thing.

Artists, Amazon Sell More Albums

Amazon is growing its share of the digital music download market but not at the expense of ITunes. According to NPD Group research data, ITunes has 66% of that market and Amazon has 13%. Growth may be coming instead from album sales, which dropped by 12% for 2010, according to WSJ.com. CD sales dropped by 20%, but digital album sales grew 13%.

A few artists have decided to forego selling individual songs on ITunes and insist on album sales instead. Billboard says this formula just might be working out for Kid Rock. He’s not selling his new album “Born Free” or the songs on it on ITunes. Billboard thinks he may have sold more, by a lot, by sticking to his guns, generating an estimated $3.3 million more by only selling his album in its entirety.

AC/DC and Garth Brooks are two other artists/groups that have refused to play the single song download sales game with iTunes, opting instead to only sell albums. No word on how it is working out for them.

Meanwhile, Amazon continues to try to put a dent in ITunes share of market by offering deep discounts of albums, something that may actually endear them to artists and labels by placing emphasis on album rather than song sales. They are known to absorb the price difference between the sale price and wholesale price, so it doesn’t harm actual revenues and it helps unit sales. It’s a strategy that worked for Kid Rock…

Americans Are Streaming As Much As Downloading Music

Life up Close: Impala Music Note

Image by 5150photo via Flickr

Americans are now streaming as much music as they are downloading, according to NPD Group. According to an article in Evolver.fm and reported by RAIN the other day, 29 percent of Americans streamed music in August and 29-30% downloaded music online.

That’s what’s called a tipping point – one that we’ve reached by witnessing the rapid growth of streaming music and the decline of downloading the same. Streaming music is about to become the dominant computer music listening behavior, according to Evolver, probably in a few months. And that doesn’t factor in the online listening/streaming that is occurring on mobile devices and televisions.

So what’s driving this rapid acceleration of streaming and deceleration of downloading? Well, Pandora‘s wild popularity is, for one. The service’s easy to use and easy to like format has introduced millions of listeners to streaming radio – at last count they claimed 60 million registered users.

Another factor driving the strong uptrend in streaming music is the variety of available services. On demand services like Rhapsody and MOG allow listeners to select any song in their library, build playlists and even store and transfer playlists to playback devices, while others like Pandora offer streams that use predictive playlist technology to personalize each listening experience based on preferences. Cloud services like MP3Tunes enable listeners to store their personal music collection on a server and stream it from whatever device they prefer. Add all of that to an enormous selection of AM/FM and online stations offering a more traditionally programmed selection of music with far fewer commercials and you have a pretty enticing list of streaming music options.

Entertainment Subscriptions Are Growing

One category that is not suffering this year is entertainment subscriptions, according to new information released by NPD Group. According to their new study, overall per capita spending on entertainment subscriptions rose by nearly 7% this year.

As of August 2009, 81 percent of U.S. households subscribed to a television service (satellite TV, basic/premium cable, or fiber-optic television service). A similar percentage of households (76 percent) paid for Internet subscriptions. Seventeen percent subscribed to an online music service or satellite radio; and 14 percent subscribed to online gaming subscription services.

While subscriptions to newspapers and magazines have declined, the rapid growth of smartphone sales has driven an increase in mobile data plan subscriptions: 9 percent of U.S. consumers had mobile data subscriptions this year, versus just 6 percent last year.

It’s not just limited to online or connected content delivery either. Fourteen percent of consumers subscribed to a home-video subscription service, like Netflix, this year, which is 2 percentage points higher than last year.

Recently, several Internet radio station owners have quietly told me the same thing. Listeners are willing to pay for content, particularly if it comes with a premium such as better sounding delivery, or no ads. It’s becoming a decent revenue stream for those that have suitable content and a loyal listener base…

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