By Robert Menta- 11/15/01
"Worldwide portable digital music player unit shipments will grow from 2.4 million in 2000 to over 9 million in 2005". That from a report released yesterday by Cahners In-Stat showing that the digital music player industry will triple its market foothold over the next four years.
The report goes on to state that while digital portable products have been the best selling MP3 devices to date, digital jukeboxes, automobile stereos, cellular phones, and personal digital assistants (PDAs) will drive future product sales.
This actually comes as no surprise as digital music has one significant advantage over all previous music formats. This advantage is that it can store significant amounts of music in a small space.
Jukebox portables like Creative's Nomad Jukebox and Apple's iPod can already store thousands of songs within a portable unit. Where digital music stands to make dramatic gains is inside the automobile where we predicted long ago it will replace the aging cassette format. The ability to hold ones entire record collection inside the car is compelling. So is the fact that CDs and cassettes no longer have to litter the car floor.
As memory storage becomes less expensive, so will the equipment and like VCRs in the mid-80s consumers will rush to them as the price point for the presently expensive technology drops. With that comes further product innovation.
Says In-Stat Senior Analyst Mike Paxton on the company web site "The increased use of the Internet has spurred the development of new digital audio business models and products. From portable players to digital audio jukeboxes, today's audiophiles and digital music consumers have more choices than ever before".
Of course the record industry is trying to derail the growth of Online music as it tries to gain control in the digital marketplace. This includes the development and recent release of copy-protected CDs which are designed not to work on a PC to discourage the ripping and trading of music files. Still, In-Stat's research seems to indicate that digital music may be the next electronic juggernaut, akin to the Sony Walkman explosion of two decade back. The popularity of peer-to-peer file sharing applications like Bearshare, Morpheus, and Xolox only fuel this demand.
Below are some of the conclusions In-Stat has drawn from its research:
The GIDI Digital Jukebox offers 80GB of MP3
e.Digital Releases MicroDrive MP3 Player You Talk To
Imation Releases Portable Mini-CD MP3 Player / Burner
World's Smallest MP3 Player
Devaluing the Product - Copyright-protected CDs