Tuning Into Mobile Music

    June 25, 2007

U.S. consumers continue to buy mobile phones that can play music, but only a small number use the feature according to a report from JupiterResearch called "Mobile Music: Target Impulse Purchases and Purchasers for Over-The-Air Downloads."

Only five percent of consumers say they have downloaded music from their PC to their mobile and just two percent report downloading over the air. Around 27.9 million U.S. consumers will have music phones by the end of this year, the music feature of the phone will remain largely unused. 

Mobile carriers face difficulties such as resistance to high price points for over the air downloads and the number of existing mobile devices already in use.

"While the iPhone could raise consumer awareness of, and interest in, music phones from other manufacturers and mobile operators, it is more likely to attract a unique market segment, hard for competitors to emulate," said Joe Laszlo, Research Director at JupiterResearch.

"Apple fans and status seekers will rush out for a first generation iPhone; music fans will probably wait a while."

To increase usage of music phones, carriers, handset makers and the music industry will have to do more to make the case that music integrated into handsets offers benefits for the consumer.

"Despite strong industry interest in music on mobile phones, adoption remains in its earliest stages," said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch.

"It isn’t the type of activity that can be forced into the marketplace, but it is something that should be nurtured in those who have already embraced it."