Car design becomes the new frontier for music consumption

20 per cent of new cars to be sold this year without a CD player as cloud-based streaming drives change, though resilient CD format will still be in over half of new cars in 2020

London, Friday, 30th October 2015

Car companies are embracing the digital music revolution at an accelerating rate, with latest figures suggesting 20 per cent of new vehicles sold in the UK this year will be delivered without CD players as auto manufacturers increasingly turn to connected technology.

And new research commissioned jointly by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) and the BPI, which represents UK record labels, from specialist auto industry consultancy SBD, reveals that internet-based audio is likely to overtake CD in new cars by 2021.

But alongside the more familiar on-demand streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster and SoundCloud, a complementary breed of web radio specialists are helping to lead the charge in in-car entertainment, including TuneIn, Aupeo and Aha.

Whilst the long-term trend points towards a fully digitally connected car, the compact disc continues to show its remarkable resilience. With new car sales typically representing less than 10 per cent of the cars on the road (2014: 8 per cent) and CD players set to be in more than half of new cars for at least five years, the compact disc is likely to remain part of our in-car listening experience for many years to come.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI and BRIT Awards, said: โ€œCars are the second most popular environment for listening to music after our homes, so are a key part of the music ecosystem. Manufacturers design their models a good four to five years before they hit the road, which in the past has seen in-car listening follow trends in music consumption rather than lead them, but rapid advances in automotive design suggests that in-car technology will play a far bigger role in shaping how we listen to music in the future.โ€ 

Kim Bayley, Chief Executive ERA, said: โ€œJust as in the home and via smartphone, digital services are pioneering new ways for music companies to reach the consumer and for music fans to access their favourite music. The car is in many ways the final frontier for digital music, but one of the most striking things about this research is quite how resilient the compact disc is proving to be.โ€

The growing popularity of cloud-based music services in the car industry is closely linked with the rise of โ€˜connected carsโ€™ โ€“ cars linked to the internet.  Over two-thirds of carmakers operating in Europe today offer connected car options. In five yearโ€™s time that is expected to rise to 93 per cent.

SBD consumer research suggests this is a trend driven by car buyers: nearly half of those questioned (48 per cent) said they would switch their preferred auto brand if it did not offer connected services.

Lee Colman, Head of Connected Car at SBD, commented โ€œWhile high-end cars are increasingly being offered with their own embedded SIM cards which drive their audio services, mass market solutions are likely to rely on connecting to a mobile phone.โ€


A significant driver of take-up is expected to be widespread adoption of the CarPlay (Apple) and Android Auto (Google) standards. But the relatively slow pace of change in the car industry is indicated by the fact that SBD estimates the industry is at least 10 years away from the universal adoption of smartphone integration in all new cars.

Ends โ€“

Images available on request

Report available from this link



Steve Redmond, ERA                                       +44 (0)7770 924 720

Gennaro Castaldo, BPI               +44 (0)7801 194 139

Wayne Tulip, SBD                                    +44 (0)1908 305 107


Notes to Editors

About ERA

ERA is the trade association representing the vast majority of retailers and digital services offering music, video and games. Its members range from independent record shops (Reflex, Sister Ray) to digital services (Spotify, Netflix, Deezer, 7digital) to internet retailers (Amazon) to specialist High Street operators (HMV, Game) and supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons). ERA members supply the sales data which powers the Official Charts Company (music and video charts) and GfK Chart-Track (videogames). Together with record companies trade association the BPI, it owns the Official Charts Company. ERA provides the organisational force behind Record Store Day, the annual celebration of independent record stores which has become the most successful new music industry promotion of the past two decades. ERA works closely with its sister organisations in music, video and games and is a strong proponent of open markets, open standards and consumer choice.

About BPI

The BPI was formed in 1973 and is the representative voice of the UK recorded music business.  As a trade organisation it promotes recorded music in the UK and worldwide and champion the rights and interests of a broad range of members, including hundreds of independent music labels and companies and the UKโ€™s three major record company groups โ€“ Sony Music Entertainment UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK.  In 2013 our members accounted for approximately 90% of all recorded music purchased in the UK โ€“ the worldโ€™s fourth largest music market โ€“ while UK artists were responsible for 1 in every 7 albums sold world-wide.

About SBD

SBD is a world-leading knowledge partner to the global automotive industry encompassing vehicle manufactures, Tier 1 suppliers and industry bodies, providing them with actionable insight and strategic support in the development of more connected, secure and safe vehicles.

SBDโ€™s reputation developed over 20 years, has been built on their exclusive focus on automotive research and support covering 70 countries worldwide.

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