One of the hottest sellers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year was also one of the technology industry’s newest product categories, the smart speaker, and its big future is good news for music creators.
The emergence of the smart speaker as a fixture of homes across the country has been sudden and dramatic. Though industry giant Amazon has been guarded over sales of its Echo line, reports have suggested that the company will ship more than 10 million speakers in 2017.
This trend is not restricted to Amazon. According to Inside Radio, we are in the middle of an industry-wide boom for smart speakers:
Sales of the speakers are booming and, by 2020, Gartner, the information technology research company, expects smart speakers to bring in $2 billion in revenue a year. Within three years, Gartner estimates that 75% of households will have one voice speaker, while 20% have two and 5% will have three or more devices.
For the consumers who buy speakers, the ability to listen to music in a new way is often the key driver of that purchase. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners recently surveyed 300 U.S. owners of an Amazon Echo or Google Home device, finding that the most prized feature was listening to music (followed by setting alarms and asking questions).
All of this means that the millions of smart speakers that will be sold over the festive period are great news for music creators. The devices provide listeners with a more convenient way to listen to the music they love through services that, unlike FM radio or YouTube streamed through a computer, compensate artists more fairly for the songs they play.
Smart speakers are an excellent model for the future of how we listen – better experience for the user, and better compensation for the music creator – and that is plenty of reason for holiday cheer.
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