Next Mobile Battleground Is Music Subscription Services

The mobile music scene is once again a hotbed of startup activity. In the first wave of innovation, the focus was on ringtones. Now the fashionable thing is music subscription services.

The list of companies dabbling in the space are too many to count. Just this week, a Berkeley, Calif. startup called MOG, which has raised about $25 million in venture capital, said it has finally received Apple’s approval to be on the iPhone. Separately, MSpot’s service, which provides a cloud-based service accessible through a browser, launched on Android phones.

While nearly all of them have a desktop component — and subscription music has been around for years — what differentiates this boom in activity is that it’s being driven by mobile phones first. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Altimeter Group wrote on Twitter today: “Music subscription service market is getting crowded again. Mobile is a key element this time around. Expect a shakeout to start soon.”

Providers range from Thumbplay, a ringtone provider, to Rhapsody’s long-standing music service, as well as to internet and mobile giants, like Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which bought streaming-music service Lala and has since shut it down, and Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which is building its own music service for Android phones. Another service is Seattle-based Melodeo, which was purchased by HP last week. Melodeo