Musicphones Used Mainly With Sideloaded Music

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M:Metric has released some data about musicphone use, showing how much more prevalent sideloading music is compared to downloading over the airwaves.
M:Metrics analyst Jen Wu put the results down to the fact that the two main barriers to mobile music adoption, accessability and fair value, are lessened with sideloaded music. “The prevalence of sideloading, largely shaped by current usage and understanding of digital music players, shows that the perceived value in musicphones is still in the ability to make one’s personal music collection portable, as opposed to a new acquisition point for music,” said Wu. Implicit in this is that the idea that the immediacy of downloading a song over the network adds value that people will pay extra for is incorrect — at least at the moment.
In terms of the penetration of music phones (those which can store songs and play them back) The UK has the highest penetration in Europe of 40 percent, followed by Germany with 34 percent, Italy with 32 percent, Spain 29 percent and France with 23 percent. The US only as 17 percent penetration, but showed a 385 percent growth between January 2006 and January 2007…almost a third of new mobile phone sales in the US in January this year were musicphones. Another interesting statistic was that “31 percent of those that use both a musicphone and a digital music player in the United States selected their musicphone as their primary music device, while 11 percent use both equally”.

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Patrick Kearney

This data helps to prove out the hypothesis that mobile consumers are savvy enough to use the most cost and time-effective means to get content to their phones. If mobile consumers don't like downloading music tracks over 2.5G and 3G, wait until they try to download video clips.

There are a number of solutions for "ripping" music and video from CD and DVD, then a simple drag & drop to get it to the memory card and on the phone. If services like iTunes are an indication, there are a growing number of people who simply don't have the time or the savvy to go through that nonsense – they just want their content, and if it is priced reasonably, and the DRM doesn't get in the way – they will pay for it.

The ROK Media Store is the only alternative to the iTunes/iPhone experience for purchasing and loading copy-protected content to a phone via broadband and side-loading memory cards. Unlike the iPhone, its available today, and works on dozens of Symbian and Windows Mobile phones. And its designed to be branded, so instead of ROK, it could be the Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart or Cingular store. Zero operational impact, zero up-front cost. Its designed to simply generate additional ARPU.

I helped develop this store, and would be happy to tell you how it works, but perhaps its more fun to just try it yourself.

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