Music delivered to mobile phones via operators’ networks will account for almost 30pc of music sales by 2011, analyst firm Understanding & Solutions has predicted.
Currently, mobile music sales represent around 13pc of global recorded music retail value.
By 2011 mobile music will be worth US$11bn, the firm said. This will help offset some of the decline in packaged music revenues.
“Alongside online, mobile music is essential to the future of the music industry,” said Understanding & Solutions consultant David Sidebottom. “Japan, closely followed by the US, has the most efficient mobile music landscape: both countries have a concentrated operator base and a large pool of potential subscribers, providing economies of scale for the music companies.
“In the fragmented European market, some operators have become less aggressive, as they can’t make money directly from selling full-track downloads but this will pave the way for ‘off-portal’ and third-party service providers.
Sidebottom suggested mobile could become the No 1 platform for music in emerging markets, where packaged CDs haven’t gained traction due to piracy and lack of hardware ownership. “Both China and India are showing large revenue gains, which are being driven by strong mobile subscriber growth and the status associated with music-related personalised mobile products.”
Understanding & Solutions warned that interfaces and software need to continue to improve to make the mobile experience comparable with online.
By Niall Byrne