Napster Research Study Makes Case for Subscriptions

The way we consume music has changed dramatically in recent years, with digital downloads and streaming services becoming increasingly popular. But what about traditional CD-based collections? Do they still hold a place in today’s market, or are they causing problems for the average consumer?

A new UK-based research report commissioned by Napster sheds some light on this issue. The report reveals that music fans have had an estimated two billion CDs lost or stolen, which is a staggering number. Additionally, the results claim that UK music fans don’t listen to half of their existing music collections. Meanwhile, the study asserts that music lovers have lost 37 records per person out of an average collection of 126 discs. The research was conducted across 1,000 adults by research firm ICM.

While the study falls under the highly-suspicious “vendor research” category, some other interesting points emerged. The report also focused on content availability in traditional CD retail environments, and noted that many record outlets only stock a percentage of what customers are looking for. That is contributing to a decrease in retailer foot traffic. “Nearly 42 percent (of the sample group) no longer purchase music in high street record stores,” the company said.

Moreover, the study shows that digital music is gaining momentum, and more and more people prefer downloading music rather than buying CDs. ICM reported that 20 percent of the sample group have downloaded music, with the average user downloading 17 tracks legitimately against six illegally. “This growing trend towards digital music is reflected by the 25 percent who would rather power up a PC or plug in an MP3 player to listen to their favorite tracks instead of using their HiFi,” the company added.

However, does this data point towards an emerging market for subscription-based services? That is a tough argument to make, though Napster predictably made a strong correlation. “This latest ICM research underlines the tremendous shift towards digital music that we’ve witnessed all year,” said Leanne Sharman, Napster vice-president and UK general manager. “Napster UK alone now has over 850,000 members with analysts increasingly pointing to digital subscription as the music retail business model of the future.”

It’s clear that the music industry is constantly evolving, and CD-based collections may no longer be the go-to choice for music fans. But does this mean they are causing problems for the average consumer? It’s hard to say for sure. On the one hand, CDs can be easily damaged or lost, which can be frustrating for collectors. On the other hand, they offer a physical copy of the music, which some people prefer over digital files.

Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide how they want to consume music. Some may continue to buy CDs, while others may switch to digital downloads or streaming services. It’s important for retailers and industry insiders to adapt to these changing trends and offer a variety of options to consumers.

One thing is for certain: the music industry will continue to evolve, and the way we consume music will change along with it. As technology advances and new services emerge, it will be interesting to see how the industry adapts and what new opportunities will arise for both consumers and industry insiders alike.

Story by news analyst Jonny Evans.