The uptake in smart speakers is set to change the way the average household consumes music, a new report has revealed.
Sales of smart speakers in recent years - including Amazon's Echo, Google Home and Apple's HomePod - have taken off since 2014, with music currently being their most popular function.
The report, jointly presented by record labels body the BPI and the Entertainment Retailers Association in London yesterday (March 20), estimates that by 2022, over half (55%) of homes in America will own a smart speaker (roughly 175m speakers in 70m homes). Last year, between 24m - 27m were sold globally.
Simon Bryant, Director of Research at Futuresource Consulting, said in January this year: "Smart speakers could become home retail terminals, linking consumers to a supply chain that opens the door to a range of services. The winner of today’s smart speaker land grab could be the owner of tomorrow’s consumer.”
The surge in voice-controlled speakers is likely to mean an increase in sign ups to streaming services as users shift away from traditional radio stations. 48% of smart speaker owners have a premium streaming subscription, while 39% said their time listening to the device is replacing time spent with radio.
The interaction a user has with their smart speaker - for example a generic request to 'play music' - means there will be greater dependence on the personalisation algorithms of speakers’ assistants, meaning labels will have to create more detailed metadata around genre, mood and user activities. As smart speakers learn the tastes and behaviours of their users, they may be able to suggest and recommend other music, products and services for purchase.
Kim Bayley, Chief Executive ERA, said that smart speakers "promises music fans a more fluid and personal relationship with the music they love," adding: "Thanks to new digital services, an industry in rapid decline is now back to growth."
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said: smart speakers are "poised to kick-start the next stage of the music streaming revolution.
"This exciting new technology will not only transform how we engage with music, encouraging more shared listening, but also how we discover it. The challenge and opportunity for labels and artists will be to ensure their music is as easily available and as effectively marketed via AI voice assistants as it has been through the screen interface."
Read The BPI and ERA's full report, called Everybody’s Talkin’ – Smart Speakers and their impact on music consumption, here.