So What’s Helping to Sell Gadgets? Music, Apparently.

According to a new argument put forth by the British Phonographic Institute (the organization that lobbies on behalf of the record industry), one of the main drivers of gadget sales is music.  People buy the latest smartphones and such so they can have more and better access to music. This, BPI says, shows how important music is to industries beyond just the one that produces music.

Can you see where this might be going?

If music is the driver of hardware sales, then shouldn’t the  people who make the music be somehow compensated? What about some kind of hardware tax?

To be fair, BPI isn’t asking for this–yet.  But you can feel the argument building. Expect organizations in other countries (including Canada) to conduct similar economic reports.

And the hits keep on coming. A new report from Nielsen says that 93% of Americans spend more than 25 hours a week listening to music, making it the top form of any entertainment to the average US citizen. Most of the listening was done at home (28%) followed by in the car (23%). All you people concerned with at-work listening, that figure was 16%.  Listening while exercising came in at 12%.

The survey goes on to report that 36% of Americans consume music through some kind of streaming service.  Some 48% rely on their personal music library while 59% use a combination of both AM/FM radio and streaming music services.

And here’s where we get to gadgets. Seven out of every ten Americans now own a smartphone (the latest figure for Canada is 62%, but that’s almost a year old) and 39% use them to purchase music. Smartphones are also the third most popular music consumption device behind only the radio (#1) and computers (#2).  So, about that hardware tax…

Then there’s this survey of under-18 music consumers by Mark Kassof & C0. While many of them choose to listen to FM radio for music, it’s way, waaaay down the list. The kids listen via smartphones (41%), iPods (25%) and computers (16%).  At 7%, FM radio is just a tick above iPads and tablets (5%). CD players sit at 3% while satellite radio is at 1%,

The largest competitor in the streaming space?  YouTube, of course. Some 53% of respondents said that YouTube was their go-source, far more than Rdio, Songza, Google Play Music, Rara, Slacker and all the rest.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “So What’s Helping to Sell Gadgets? Music, Apparently.

  • Pingback: Scherzo TV | So What’s Helping to Sell Gadgets? Music, Apparently.

  • October 4, 2014 at 6:42 am
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    Hi Alan. I question the Kassof report and suggest that it’s not an apple to apple comparison (on behalf of those that make a living with FM). I can accept the choice of delivery mechanism, but not content. Maybe those under 18 aren’t using FM radio’s for delivery, but what are the stats that show how much content they listen to originates with radio (amongst other sources)?

    Great reading everyday. Keep up the excellent work.
    -wds

    Reply

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