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Sony: Web Portables Could Triple By ’03

About 21 percent of online consumers between the ages of 15 and 35 say they already own at least one Internet audio portable, but that figure could skyrocket up to 75 percent by the end of 2003, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Sony.

For the survey, Internet portables include headphone-based flash-memory portables, MP3/CD players, hard-drive portables, and MiniDisc portables that store downloaded and ripped music.

“The study shows us that consumers want to enjoy customized music mixes anytime, anywhere,” said Robert Ashcroft, senior VP of Sony’s Personal and Mobile Products Division. “Music lovers have figured out how to download digital music and customize their collections on the PC, and now they are looking to transfer those collections to a portable device.”

The survey found that 78 percent of the respondents know how to download music from the Internet, and 32 percent of the downloaders do so about once a month. Nonetheless, almost half of downloader/rippers listen to their music only through their PC, mainly because of the convenience. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed aren’t familiar with the process of transferring music from a PC to a portable device, Ashcroft said, but they are aware of the possibility.

The survey also found that:

  • 64 percent of the online population aged 15 to 35 know how to rip playlists from their CDs. Of those consumers, 60 percent do it up to three times each month.
  • 86 percent of those 15-35 year olds who download music say that they enjoy doing it. For them, the enjoyment comes from being able to customize their music collection (83 percent), the ability to choose from a large selection of songs (76 percent) and that it is easy to do (61 percent).

The survey of 1,960 15- to 35-year-old online consumers was initiated to determine how consumers use the Internet and devices to download and listen to music.