Blog Post

Labels, Don’t Try For Success In Full-Track Downloads: Analyst

JupiterResearch analyst Mark Mulligan has put up a post arguing that labels shouldn’t want to be successful in mobile music. The argument goes something like this: Mobile download speeds will always pale in comparison to PC broadband speeds even when using the same WiFi connection, because of the processing power of the mobile phone. Therefore, mobile music will remain dominated by single tracks, so as people increase the proportion of their music bought via mobile they decrease the number of albums they buy, and hence decrease the overall revenue for the music labels. Obviously there are some assumptions made in this argument — that people will spend less on individual singles than on albums, that mobile processing power won’t increase to the point where downloading an album to a mobile will be a viable propasition, and so on and so forth, but the argument is a fairly strong one. Which is why a lot of the new music stores are dual-download, and allow people to search for music from the comfort of their PC…mobile music and PC music should not be seen as individual silos, but as different parts of an integrated unit. There are also other aspects to mobile music than just downloading tracks, such as music recognition/fingerprinting services, the generic time-filling factor, and all the different ways mobiles can be used to promote music. I would change his conclusion to “labels shouldn’t aim to be successful in making mobile music just about single track OTA downloads”, and a lot of them are trying other things as well.