A Journal of Musical ThingsAre MP3 Players Dead? Not Yet, But Soon. » A Journal of Musical Things

Published on December 26th, 2012 | by Alan Cross


Are MP3 Players Dead? Not Yet, But Soon.

A note to American readers:  Today, December 26th, is Boxing Day, our version of Black Friday. It’s the day when Canadians take (a) any money we were given for Christmas; (b) any money left over from Christmas; and/or (c) any space left on the credit card and go shopping for stupid deals on things like flat screen TVs and other electronics.

I wonder how many people are going to buy MP3 players today?  My guess is not that many.

Ten years ago, everyone wanted a portable music device that played MP3s.  Today, though, just try and buy a new cell phone that doesn’t contain the ability to play music.  This has put a big squeeze on devices that just play MP3s.

Yes, there’s still a market for these things.  People want something just for working out.  Kids who can’t be trusted with a smart phone yet.  Business owners who want to program music for their workplace.

But that market is shrinking fast.  Even Apple admits that iPod sales are slumping.  In the most recent quarter, they sold 5.3 million iPods globally.  That’s a dump of 19% from the same quarter last year.  The new gateway drug to Apple products is an entry-level iPhone.

Business Insider has this to say:

According to analysis by Mintel, the research company, sales of MP3 players fell by almost £110 million – or 22 per cent – to £381 million this year compared to 2011.

Mintel predicts that sales will halve again by 2017. In its “worst case” scenario, the group forecasts that sales of MP3 players could drop to just £25 million within five years.

Continue reading.



About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 Responses to Are MP3 Players Dead? Not Yet, But Soon.

  1. Jay says:

    Could be that the decline in sales is because most everyone that wants/needs one already has one. Not really a need to replace one every year.

  2. giusi says:

    Ya,as the top poster wrote.i cant live without my mp3 player. My phone doesn't usually carry enough memory for my tune library. Also,it's smaller so I can tuck it into any pocket or mitts if I go for a walk,etc.

    But as they said..it doesn't need to be replaced as frequently.but if mine broke,I'd go out in a second and buy a new one. So, there is definitely a need for them. People dont change their mp3 players as fast as they change their phones.which,to be quite honest, I never understood. :-/. Why you'd need a new phone every few months seems ridiculous and excess to me..but isn't that what we are now

  3. Chris says:

    I use an iPod Touch. It does everything an iPhone does with the wonderful advantage of not being a phone! I can just buy the thing without selling my soul to one of the evil phone companies. I also have a pay-as-you-go cell, so it all works out a lot cheaper.

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