Music on the move – How it's changed

Music on the move – How it's changed

How we consume music has changed greatly in recent years. For most, the days of large CD or Vinyl collections have passed making way for digital downloads and music streaming. 

As our lives become driven by smart devices our access to and hunger for new music on the move increases. Instead of an arduous process of copying your music library from hard copy to digital you have access to almost all music… from your pocket! Music streaming services are soaring in popularity, not least because Apple and Amazon now both have them. Streaming services let you pay a small fee each month, or even get the music for free if you can put up with advertising (Spotify & Deezer), and get access to huge music libraries to listen to whenever and wherever you fancy.

This surge has prompted the fastest growth in UK music consumption since the late 1990s. UK consumers bought the equivalent of more than 135m albums in 2017 across all formats – which include CDs, vinyl, digital downloads and streams from subscription services. That was a 9.5% increase on 2016, the biggest annual rise since 1998, when the charts were dominated by artists including All Saints, Massive Attack and the Verve. The growth in buying and listening to music was driven by audio streaming, which leaped by 51.5% to just over 68m albums and helped offset falling sales of digital downloads and CDs.

Running alongside this change in behaviour around how we consume music is a jump in popularity of high quality branded headphones options. Big mobile electronics brands often lead the way in awareness, styling and brand recognition where smaller manufacturers can often excel in performance and sound quality. Our desire to listen to our favourite tracks on the move has spiked sales in headphones; which are not only a step up in sound quality over the functionality units supplied with your smart device, but more often than not, laden with better features. In some cases consumers are being led by the features of the product to define when and where they use them – with early adopters having more than one set. You can see how the demands of the listener differ when you consider a set of headphones for your daily commute versus home use or a set for the gym. As in any product purchase choice we are often led by brand name but it is worth noting that the overriding important decision on selecting a set of headphones for yourself or as a gift should be sound quality and comfort.

Furthermore, wireless options are becoming more and more popular not least because of phone manufacturers dropping the use of the 3.5mm headphone jack in newly release models. Even with one of the biggest players in Apple being the first to drop the jack socket we didn’t just stop using our phones to access music – we adapted and quickly. In fact, according to recent sales data collected by market researchers GFK, the number of Bluetooth headphones sold has jumped 343% in the last year. There is fast becoming more choice in wireless options than wired as Bluetooth® connectivity becomes more of a stable in our lives. So whether you are in the market for a set of larger over-ear headphones or a set of comfortable active in-ear headphones for the gym be sure that you will have a lot of options to choose from. As with any wireless product being confident in the product quality is as important the convenience of them. Look for a manufacturer with heritage in producing audio products for music fans – brand name will only go so far. Specifications such as the higher quality AptX codec, longer battery life and high-sensitivity will give you better sound quality, longer run time and clarity at volume.


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Sources: Tech Advisor | The Guardian | Tech Radar