This story will undoubtedly disappoint audiophiles around the world, but when you think about it are you really surprised? It seems today more Americans than ever before prefer to use their computer speakers for listening to their music than other formats, even the ones that are designed to do just that and do it well.
According to a survey from Strategy Analytics, built-in computer speakers are now the most common way Americans listen to their music. In fact, laptop and desktop speakers dominated the list of frequently used listening methods, claiming 55 percent of the people surveyed.
Headphones connected to a portable device took second place with 41 percent along with the stand-alone radio. It seems some even use their televisions, with 29 percent check off that box as well.
Audiophiles continue to buy high end playback systems for their listening needs, but that is really a niche market and not mainstream at all. “Including radios, only four of the 10 most popular are dedicated music playback devices – connected loudspeakers (12%), wireless speakers (11%) and speaker docking stations (10%),” the Strategy Analytics report stated.
The most unfortunate part of this survey indicates that most American’s don’t even know what they are missing. According to the study, those using low quality devices were still satisfied, with 43 percent reporting they were while 26 percent said they were somewhat satisfied.
So what is causing this loss of quality in our listening experience? David Watkins, Strategy Analytics’ director of Connected Home Devices, blames a technological rush that has always prioritized convenience over quality. “Music’s focus over the past decade has been about usability and convenience – being able to get it on as many devices as possible – whilst sound quality has been largely ignored or forgotten in this race to portability,” Watkins said. “It’s bred a generation of listeners who’ve never really known what it’s like to listen to high quality sound and, consequently, is already sounding the death knell for the likes of the hi-fi system.”
Could this be the end of high quality sound as we know it? Doubtful. However, these types of systems, at least for now, will be relegated to more of a niche market that targets those that are looking for the absolute best in their sound systems instead of focusing on a more widespread market.
In the rush to get music onto every device possible, it seems the industry has forgotten that quality can make a difference as well, and now most Americans are even forgetting what really good quality sound is when listening to music. With entire generation raised with small, low quality earbuds, it’s really not all that surprising. The question is, what will the industry do about it?
What do you think about this revelation? In the grand scheme of things does it really matter? Or do you feel like the industry should work to bring the costs down on some of the higher end music systems to reintroduce high quality sound to consumers? Let me know what you think about this in the comments below.