Most Americans prefer a crappy music experience

Most Americans prefer a crappy music experience

MusicJanuary 17, 2017 By Brian Frederick

It doesn't matter what decade you're stuck in, there's always going to be those people who argue about music being 'so much better back in the day.' And while that's usually true, it's not for lack of artists trying. There's an unending swath of options available today — don't like something, you're not looking hard enough. The problem? Even when artists release music they've spilled sweat and tears over, consumers keep shitting all over the effort.

Why? Because over 55 percent really don't care that the speakers they're listening to aren't built for quality, simply convenience and affordability. 

To prove it, a study released by Strategy Analytics claims that more than half of Americans use laptop or desktop speakers while listening to music — sound utilities with a fraction of the range and quality as normal stereo outputs.

Says David Watkins, Strategy Analytics’ director: "Music’s focus over the past decade has been about usability and convenience – being able to get it on as many devices as possible – whilst sound quality has been largely ignored or forgotten in this race to portability. It’s bred a generation of listeners who’ve never really known what it’s like to listen to high quality sound and, consequently, is already sounding the death knell for the likes of the hi-fi system.”

However, the consumers might not even know what they're missing. According to the same survey, almost half of respondents say they're 'very satisfied' with the way their music sounds out of their crappy devices. If any of them had access to better systems, those results would likely be far less by comparison. 

"There is an appetite among consumers to go beyond the limitations of what they get today but companies face a tough job in convincing people to upgrade to more expensive equipment," he adds. "We’re only at the beginning of a long road for market acceptance of moving back to high quality audio.”

Eventually, quality will catch up with affordability. As Watkins says, this scenario is years out still, but could get interesting. Instead of everyone arguing about music back in the 2010s, most everyone might agree that yeah, it just sucked.

"Oh, yeah, music totally sounded like shit back then."

And the world keeps turning.