Death of the Hi-Fi? Majority of online music listeners are dancing to their phones


Music fans are increasingly turning to their smartphones to listen to their favorite tunes, a new study has revealed.

In a report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, looking at the listening habits of music fans across 13 nations, 55 percent of people who listened to online music did so on their phones. That's up 5 percent over the previous year, and marks the first time that smartphones took the majority share of music listeners.

Around the world

Two thirds of listeners are still tuning in on their computers, but it's in decline since mobile computing and pocketable devices have risen in popularity.

This is despite the increasingly-connected nature of dedicated Hi-Fi devices, from wireless speakers like Sonos to the wide-ranging connected AV receivers.

Speaking to 900 music fans in each territory, the study unsurprisingly found a correlation between subscriptions to streaming service and mobile music playback.

With the likes of Spotify and Deezer offering free-tiered options - great for penny-pinching music lovers who can't afford digital downloads or physical media - the service's mobile apps enjoy the most focussed development and tidiest user interfaces. So it's no surprise that's where listeners are gravitating.

More interesting perhaps is the granular listening habits of each nation. Mexico leads smartphone usage at 77 percent listening on mobile devices in the past six months.

As a developing economy, the past decade's rapid proliferation of low-cost smart devices would see wide access to music through smartphones quickly embraced.

But in Japan, where home gadgetry is still rife and video content is vociferously consumed, only 39 per cent listened in on phones in the past six months, despite the nation boasting one of the world's strongest economies.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.