The sheer number and types of devices on which people can listen to music have expanded enormously in the past few years. How has that affected people's music consumption? Our Technographics survey data shows that the car stereo is the most popular device on which to listen to music, followed by the home stereo and the PC. About one-third of US adults regularly listen to music on a MP3 player, and 8% listen on their cell phones.
Even though music functionality on phones has been around for about six years, only iPhone owners have adopted it in a significant way. What keeps consumers from adopting new music offerings? A recent Forrester report called "Which Device Offers The Best Music Experience?" uses Forrester's Convenience Quotient (CQ) methodology to assess a sample of devices to evaluate consumer experiences. This analysis shows that every device currently available leaves consumers with a wish list of features and improvements: challenges with installation and setup, an inability to share music, a broken link between music and video, or a lack of logic in the navigation. The tradeoff for consumers is simple: They only adopt something new when the benefits are bigger than the barriers.
I’ve been covering the digital music space for over a decade now and in that time I’ve seen a lot of services and devices come and go. I’ve also seen a lot of lessons learned and there is clearly more choice of high-quality music services and products now than at any stage before. And yet there is one major Achilles' heel which continues to cripple the market: poor service-to-device journeys. We have great services and we have great devices. But we have very few great service and device combinations. Pitifully few companies put anything like enough focus on the service-to-device journey (or if they do, they execute poorly). Just as much effort needs to be invested in ensuring services are fully integrated and optimized for supported devices as in building the services and devices themselves. Otherwise: great device + great service = poor experience.
So, in the Consumer Product Strategy team at Forrester, we decided to do something about this problem and created a new methodology that will help product strategists build winning service/device combinations. We call it the Convenience Quotient of Music Experience. For those not familiar with Forrester’s Convenience Quotient, it is based on a very simple equation:
The title of the report is important and highlights the key focus of the report: that cloud-based music services should not be some technology-driven rush to deliver music across as many devices as possible but should instead focus on extending and connecting the digital music experience into what we are calling 360-Degree Music Experiences.
The idea of cloud-based music has been with us for a long time (some of you many remember the decade-old concept of The Celestial Jukebox). Now that technology and connectivity have, to some degree at least, caught up, the cloud is drifting across the digital music marketplace once again. However, numerous hurdles continue to temper the potential: