By Richard Menta 2/16/05
I remember back in 1999 going to the gym and several people asking me about the heart monitor I was using during my run on the treadmill. It wasn't a heart monitor, it was the Sensory Science Rave-MP 2100, one of the first MP3 portables. Few had a clue then about the technology, which at $250 for a player that only played 64MB was strictly for early digerati with a couple of bucks to spare.
Today, thanks in part to the iPod, digital music portables are what I predicted they would be back then, the new cassette. I don't mean that in an anachronistic way, just that these players are no longer unusual. They are becoming commonplace.
According to a just released Pew study, 11% of the US population or 22 million people over the age of 18 have digital music portables now. There were a number of findings in the report:
We men tend to be more intrigued by new technology just for technology's sake and so make a higher percentage of the early adopters. This number will probably be 50-50 soon, especially if Jens of Sweden continues to successfully target their MP3 portables to women. I expect the bigger companies to follow Jens' lead soon as another strategy to pull sales from the iPod.
Overall, a high percentage of digital music player owners are over 30. Debunks the stereotype that digital music is the domain of tweens, teens and college students.
Digital music portables are expensive. This makes it a hard buy for the working poor as even low priced players can cost a week's groceries. As prices drop over time, it will enter lower income homes. There are roughly 60 million file sharers in the US, but only 22 million with a digital music portable. Two-thirds of traders are waiting for this price drop. The new $99 iPod Shuffle should drive prices for lower capacity competition down in the short term.
All the easier to file share with. The record industry cites modest yearly drops in industry revenues as proof of how file sharing is bad for industry. The movie industry claim the same thing and they set sales records for the fifth year in a row! The truth is it has been good for industry, specifically the broadband, home electronics, and computer industries just to say three.
It shows you that kids keeps their parents current.
The iPod Shuffle is available on Amazon
Other MP3 stories:
Samsung's Diamond Studded MP3 Player
iPod Satellite: Jobs Tells Sirius CEO No
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