Once upon a time the only way to hear music while driving was through the radio. Of course you were at the mercy of the station of what you were listening to, but thanks to the 8 track tape, cassette tape, and then the CD player, you could personalize your listening experience. Today there are many more choices for music listening available in the car, and a new study by Music Biz Consumer Insights and LOOP gives us more details into not only the technology choices, but the listener ages as well.
Interestingly, 75% of respondents said they still listen to AM/FM radio, while CD listening came in second at 38%. Digital music files had 18% and streaming Internet radio had 15%, while podcasts were at just 6%.
Age has a lot to do with how we listen however, and the younger you are, the less you rely on traditional in-car technology. The study found that 29% of ages 20 to 24 listen to digital music files and 26% listen to streaming Internet radio. That’s almost the same for the 25-34 group, which come in at 28% and 29%, respectively, while teens aged 15-19 posted 23% and 22%. Digital music files were somewhat common for the 35-44 group as well, as 26% listened to digital music files, but older than that dropped below 20%.
The traditional auto CD player seems to be falling by the wayside as 60% had an in-car CD player, but it really depends upon the age group. CD player ownership was most common for the 25-34 group and older, while ages 16 to 19 had just 38% CD player ownership and the 20-24 group reported 41% ownership. Just 31% had some sort of in-car phone audio connection, such as a wired or wireless aux input, and millennials are most likely to own phone adaptors at 43% for the 20-24 age group and 44% for ages 25-34.
But here’s the thing, even though CD players in autos are somewhat common, they aren’t regularly used. Just 23% said they use their in-car CD player daily, compared with 48% daily using their phone audio connection.
The study also looked at Sirius XM’s satellite radio use. Just 17% of all respondents said their cars could stream Sirius XM, but 76% of those listen to it at least once a week and 54% listen daily.
The bottom line: music consumption in our cars is slowly changing, even for the older age groups, and it won’t be long until we’re in a two choice world – radio or digital.