When Americans listen to music, they’re most often doing so in their car. And even with all of the Bluetooth and docking gadgets in the marketplace, they’re still likely to be listening to an AM/FM radio or CD. But that may not be the situation for much longer, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

“Smart devices streaming music could end up being the largest threat to CDs and broadcast radio since the dawn of digital music,” Russ Crupnick, senior vice president and entertainment analyst for The NPD Group, wrote in the report Entertainment Trends in America. The growth in car audio systems with integrated digital music players will cannibalize every other listening option.

The automotive locale is due primarily to the huge amount of time Americans spend driving – or in traffic jams, of course. In fact, nearly two out of three Americans said that the majority of their music listening took place in the car during the prior three months, a decline of two points since last year, and 80 percent of them did so by turning on the radio at least some of the time.

Just over half (53 percent) of motoring music fans listened to CDs, down four percentage points over the prior year. Listening via an iPod touch, iPhone, Android smartphone or other similar device more than picked up that difference, increasing nine percentage points to a total of 29 percent and accounting for 3.5 hours per week per person.

Crupnick predicts these trends will gain momentum in the near future. “A tipping point is approaching when vehicles and portable devices move from a tethered connection to a more integrated one,” he wrote.

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Photo by Flickr user dsearls/Doc Searls, used under Creative Commons license



  1. In Vehicle connectivity and advances in IVI (In Vehicle Infotainment) platforms is an important focus area among major Car OEMs. With 3G and proposed 4G connectivity and open platforms – Car is positioned to be the next logical 4th screen for content consumption and entertainment services