MP3 to kill the CD by 2005 – MORI

A study backed by an MP3 player maker reveals...

The CD is dead, buried by MP3. Or at least it will be by 2005. That's the conclusion of punters in the UK, a recent survey by market researcher MORI reveals

Some 1629 adults were asked about their CD buying habits over the next five years. MORI's results suggest that young adults in particular are "planning to abandon CDs in favour of MP3, music downloads, digital audio players and portable collections".

Or are they? MORI's survey was commissioned by Creative Labs, which produces portable MP3 players and so is hardly a disinterested party. A quote on MORI's release gives the game away: "The MORI findings confirms many of our views," said Duncan Jackson, Creative Labs' European director of retail.

So while, according to MORI's numbers, a third of all people between the ages of 15 and 24 reckon they'll have stopped buying CDs within five years, it doesn't follow that they'll all be storing their music on portable devices or PCs.

Currently only 14 per cent of Internet users - in turn a subset of the sample - download music from the Net. This means there will have to be a significant shift towards digital music distribution if the aforementioned 33 per cent of people between 15 and 24 can do what they expect - in the way MORI predicts and Creative Labs hopes will happen.

Actually, we think MORI is broadly on the right track. Around a third of all respondents said they expected to have virtual music collections by 2005. And this is unsurprising, considering the rise of Napster and the interest of companies like Sony in selling music via Net-based pay-per-listen systems.

But we do think MORI is stretching the point when it claims the CD is on its last legs, and we reckon the reason most people don't think they'll be buying that many of them in future is more because there's so little stuff worth spending 15 quid on.

There's also the Napster factor, which has helped persuade people that the Net is a source of high quality, free music. It will be interesting to see how MORI's respondents change their views once proper paid-for online music services become the norm. ®

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