Bringing Digital Music To The Masses


CYBER WORLD(Hypebot) –
If digital music is to reach mainstream adoption, the music industry must eliminate the barriers that confuse many non-techie consumers. That's the conclusion of Forrester analyst Mark Mulligan's new report"Taking Digital Music To The Mainstream: The Music Product Features For The Living Room".


Easier and cheaper hardware if the key to the conversion according to Mulligan, "Our conceptual technology is a hard drive, midi-sized music hi-fi that with a detachable touch screen display / remote control." On his blog Mulligan writes that the next generation of digital music devices must:

  • "Deliver a compelling experience even if not connected.
  • "Include extensive music at point of purchase. This is, we think, the crucial element. Mainstream consumers don’t have the appetite for another format replacement cycle, so we suggest the device should effectively replace their entire CD collection and add more, all for the cost of the device.
  • "Provide the tools for baby steps into the digital world: for those consumers that do connect we propose a convenient range of digital discovery and acquisition applications…".
  • "Leverage telcos: …to really go mass market they probably need subsidizing by a telco e.g. a Sky Songs broadband package would include the device bundled with the router."


    Simplifying the digital experience for confused consumers was also part of the message delivered by Maren Elwood and Rebecca Roth of On-Site Research during a NARM online seminar “Cyber Census 2009: An Ethnographic Study of Music Consumer Habits”.


    The NARM sponsored in depth interviews of 100 consumers showed a growing digital divide between those comfortable with new technology and many others who did not have the time or inclination to master them. Some consumers want music to play a greater role in their lives, but felt shut out by the confusing array of choices. The iPod Touch was cited by one music fan as so overwhelming that she preferred her Nano. At the other end of the spectrum was Pandora which provided instant enjoyment for less tech savvy music fans.


    You can watch the slides and listen to an audio replay via Vimeo here.