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ERA report claims still shapes the generation gap for music


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Shakespeare had the seven ages of man, but the UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has managed to squeeze it down to five to cover people’s consumption of media and entertainment.

Drawn from ERA’s consumer tracking study of 2,000 UK consumers, it found that the generation gap is still very much being defined by different uses of technologies by different age brackets of consumers.

Unsurprisingly, the under-25s are the most digitally comfortable and techno-literate, with 84.2% of them listening to music on smartphones. This drops steadily the older the consumer is – with 62.4% of those aged 25-34 listening this way, followed by 56.3% for those aged 35-44, then it drops to 46.7% for those aged 45-54, while for those aged 55+ the smartphone as a music playback device is not even in their top five ways of accessing any form of entertainment.

For the eldest demographic in its study, it is the car radio that dominates their music listening (with 61.7% of them hearing music that way), followed by DAB, CD player and AM/FM radio. Interestingly in the 25-34 category, music via smartphone may dominate, but video and gaming sponge up a large amount of their entertainment time. And for those aged 35-44, music might also be the dominant category but it, like the generation above, is mainly via car radio.

“The entertainment business is in the midst of the biggest revolution it has faced since the advent of the digital disc,” said ERA CEO Kim Bayley. “This survey confirms that there is a marked difference in the speed of adoption of new technologies by different generations.”

t is difficult to draw hard conclusions from any of this without supplementing it with more qualitative information around the actual amount and context of listening. But it does spell out how much certain age groups cleave to certain technologies.

Stuart Dredge

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