Nowadays the concept of portable music player that began with SONY’s Walkmans and evolved into MP3 players with the famous iPod at the helm has disappeared from the mass market. However, this type of device still exists in the market, but they have remained only for a niche. What do I take to the demise of portable music players? Let’s find out.
The first flash memory-based portable music devices were called MP3 players because they had such a small capacity, in the form of tens of megabytes, that songs had to be stored in that format and at a very low bitrate. So the quality of these devices was not very good, but it allowed us to carry several music albums in our pocket. The paradox is that today the tables have been reversed and it is that before the replacement of these by mobile phones they have had to find a justification to survive, which is precisely a higher audio quality.
The demise of the portable music player
A large majority of the people you will see every day while walking down the street and who have headphones on will be due to the fact that they have connected them to a mobile phone. This is because it gives them enough quality to enjoy their favorite songs. So, in principle, the fact of having a portable music player is not something that is necessary. However, all this comes from a misunderstanding of the situation. Apple, which had the best-selling portable music player, the iPod, launched the iPhone as a follow-up to the iPod, competing with each other. So it was necessary to turn the page for them and stop promoting it.
The next step we saw was the emergence of song-on-demand applications over the internet, saving flash memory chips. Of course, it is necessary to have a data connection to be able to listen to the songs requires the use of a data connection, something that portable music players lack. What led to its use being less and less until it completely disappeared as a mass product. Today they are mobile phones, more than anything due to the fact that the form of consumption has changed. Before we spent time uploading songs to our computer and from there to the player. Streaming is more comfortable by simply searching for the song and applications like Spotify have replaced others like iTunes.
The curse of good enough
In the history of technology we have seen how cutting-edge technologies that were leading the market have disappeared from one day to the next. This occurs when a technology that makes it possible to do the same task in a more accessible way appears on the market. When MP3 players came out with the advantage of being able to carry dozens of songs in their pocket, the public did not care about the worse sound quality. The reaction of the already established market? The Super Audio CD and DVD Audio. Do they sound like you? Normal, they were a real commercial failure.
Well, the same thing is happening with portable music players, they have moved to the high end for music lovers, a very limited market and those who don’t mind paying nonsense of up to 1000 euros for a device capable of playing songs with a much better sound quality. What do we see for the user on foot? It is not better than what we have in low-end mobile phones. What’s more, the smartest thing is to take an old mobile phone without a SIM card and use it as a music player or alternatively use our own mobile, which is what everyone does.