Posts Tagged ‘ mobile music ’

Consumer doesn’t want to pay for mobile music

A few months ago, we discussed how mobile music is evolving from ring tones to new music services.   However, it’s not easy to find the right model to generate revenue in this market.

In September, the iPhone app Spotify was launched to the Apple app store, allowing users to access music playlists on their phone as part of the £9.99 ad-free monthly subscription.  However, the reactions were very mixed.  From the 1800 consumer reviews on the first day of the launch, there were 400 people giving the maximum of 5 stars, but no less than 1100 giving it only one star.
According to a survey among readers of the British website nma.co.uk, 2 out of 3 is not willing to pay for streaming music. 

Mark Mulligan, VP and research director at Forrester Research, said the mobile music market is a tough challenge and no one has yet cracked it. “Consumers have generally said they have no appetite for paying for streaming music and there’s endless evidence that they won’t buy music they don’t own. So realistically, for Spotify, the aspiration should be to convert a small number of people to premium via the mobile app,” he said.

But a Spotify spokesman told NewMediaAge the company wasn’t surprised by consumers’ responses to the app. “We always knew the majority of users would stay on the free service,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of traffic from people used to free illegal downloads, so they expect us to be free. We’ve only launched on the iPhone and Android for now, so that’s just a small percentage of the market, although we’re confident a fair number will upgrade.”

Meanwhile, Napster, the illegal-gone-legal music service has reacted to the Spotify launch by halving the price of its streaming service to £5 a month. 

Who will win this competition?  Or will consumers stick to their illegal downloads, still found everywhere online…?

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Blackberry presents U2 mobile album

Research In Motion, producer of the Blackberry smartphone, has collaborated with Irish rock band U2 on a Mobile Album.  This mobile app, which can be downloaded for free in Blackberry App World, gives a “visual experience and an interactive dimension” for their latest album ‘No Line On The Horizon’.   While it doesn’t include the actual songs, you get lots of photos, videos, news, lyrics and other multimedia.

Some interesting features will soon be added:
– Tap into the Who’s Listening section and see when and where other users are listening to the album
– Track the tour as the band moves across the globe – see where they’re going and where they’ve been

More

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BlackBerry announces U2 mobile album

A teaser on the BlackBerry website announces a mobile album for the popular Irish rock band U2.  It seems to concern the latest album No Line On The Horizon, and the supporting 360 Tour, which kicked off earlier this week.  If we can believe the teaser, BlackBerry users will not only be able to listen to the songs and get news on the album and the tour, but he’ll also have social networking tools to “show the world what the music means to you” and “experience the tour from all angles”.  Not very clear whether this is an app or a mobile site… more info to be announced.

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Mobile music: from ringtones to full MP3

I’ve discussed it before: the ring tone industry is no longer what it used to be.  With today’s mobile devices, we no longer have to endure those irritating polyphonic  ring tones, but we can instead download full MP3 of our favorite songs onto our mobile, use them as tones or simple use our phone as a music player when we’re on the bus.

As I recently read on Digimedia, research by Strategy Analytics has shown that the sale of (mono, polyphonic & hifi) ring tones still represents 50% of mobile music sales, while the download of singles is gaining popularity.   Another agency Informa Telecoms & Media points out that for listening to music, most people still use a separate device (such as an iPod or a pre-historical CD player).  But with hybrid mobile devices and smartphones becoming more wide spread, this trend might soon change. 

A good stimulation is the launch of new mobile music services, such as PlayNow Plus, which is automatically available with the phones from the Sony Ericsson Walkman series, and Come With Music, which Comes With the Nokia XpressMusic devices.  Both services offer free music downloads for a first period of time, after which the (optional) service is monthly charged with the mobile subscription.   Another example is of course the Apple iPhone, which syncs with the iTunes Store. 

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New mobile music services are booming

The Apple iPhone, combined with the iTunes store, proved that mobile music is quite an interesting market.
Other mobile device manufacturers are jumping the bandwagon and rolling out new music services.

First there was Nokia’s “Comes With Music” (CWM) service, launched in October 2008, giving users unlimited access to 4 million tracks.  Sony Ericsson followed with improvements on their PlayNow platform. Also Blackberry came with mobile music applications.

Eric Nicoli, CEO of the EMI Group, proved the potential of the market, speaking at the annual MIDEM event:  “You only have to look at Japan, where 90 percent of all digital music sold is downloaded on to phones to see what a mobile download market can be.”
In other markets however, it hasn’t come quite that far just yet.  For a long time, the high price tag of music-enabled phones was an obstacle.  But manufacturers want to change that with their new product range.  Several operators are targeting the younger generation with mobile phone subscriptions that include access to the mobile music service.

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Napster Mobile available to more than 13 million AT&T clients

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Last year, Napster teamed up with US mobile provider AT&T to offer a mobile music download service. This service has now been expanded to more than 13 million AT&T mobile subscribers.

Napster Mobile lets music fans use their handsets to search, browse and download music from Napster’s collection of more than 6 million songs.  A full-length song can be downloaded at the cost of $ 1,99, which includes a copy that is automatically delivered to the customer’s PC.

The service is now available on more than 25 AT&T smartphones and handsets, including BlackBerry Bold, AT&T Quickfire, Pantech Matrix and Samsung Propel. The expansion was made possible by less restrictive digital rights management (DRM) requirements from the labels and Napster’s adoption of more flexible technology.

A bright future for mobile payments

According to Juniper Research, about 2,1 billion mobile consumers worldwide will be using their mobile phone to pay for digital goods by 2013.  They point out that ever more digital goods are viewed as necessary by the age group under 35.  People who are 15 or 20 years old today will use their mobile to directly pay for mobile services such as mobile music downloads.  Smartphone devices such as the iPhone encourage this evolution even more. 

While mobile payments can be used for music, games, tickets, infotainment and other digital goods, we don’t see that many concrete examples yet today.  Probably the best prove that it works are the sms parking service and the sms bus tickets that exists is several Belgian cities now.  Last week, De lijn announced that it sold its 200.000th SMS ticket.  Since it’s launch in September 2007, there are about 17.000 travellers a month that their their bus fare by SMS.  62% of those are on the account of Antwerp, the other 38% for Ghent.  Later this year, De Lijn will decide if the project will be extended to other cities.  The advantage for the consumer is that the SMS ticket is cheaper than a normal ticket (1,20 euro instead of 1,60).  Unfortunately, it is only available for Proximus subscribers.

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