MP3 Market Heats Up, To Quadruple By 2009

El Segundo-based iSuppli has released a report which says that shipments of MP3 players is expected to quadruple by 2009. The electronics components analysis firm predicted that shipments will rise from 36.8M units in 2004 to 132M units in 2009. The report comes as good news for both makers of MP3 players as well as the music services that are providing music for those players. iSuppli said that the MP3 products are slowly changing the listening habits of consumers, and has broken down its estimates of its market into hard-drive based and flash-based MP3 players. Los Angeles-based Napster, San Diego-based MP3tunes, and others are all challenging Apple iTunes with MP3-based music download services. The music download services are becoming enormously popular with consumers looking for variety and the latest music, and the wide availability of MP3 players has also spawned a new industry, "Podcasting" where audio content is created specifically for downloading onto an MP3 player for later listening.