Record companies say the iPod killed the music industry. Audio companies say the iPod killed the speaker. They’re both exaggerating-but on some level, both assertions are true.
Many people now listen to music primarily on an MP3 player through headphones. And as the demand for headphones has increased, they’ve become a bigger and bigger business, and have gotten better and better. These improvements have spawned a subculture of serious audio enthusiasts who’d much rather listen to Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington through ‘phones than on a regular set of speakers.