Saturday, November 13, 2004

Cellphones Take iPod Challenge

Cellphones handling music is the next step. Why have one device to play music and another to make calls/access the internet? This is the first step, but I think streaming the songs makes the most sense from a business plan perspective. You can't steal if you already have access to all music. The cellphone nimrods are working on video when they should be focusing on music. The files will be smaller. Follow the adaption curve just like on internet PCs: first text, then voice/music, then pictures/video. Give me a cell plan with unlimited 128kbs internet access for around $20/month. Give me a Rhapsody like subscription service music plan for $10/month. Call it the infinite iPod. Access to 70,000 songs, no hard drive necessary. But these guys aren't going that way yet.

The potential of mobile devices as a music delivery platform is clear. There are hundreds of millions of cell phone owners, particularly in European countries, where penetration rates can be as much 80 percent of the population. That pool represents a vastly larger potential market than the millions of people who use iPods or other MP3 players.

Music for cell phones is relatively expensive and scarce--just 3,000 songs are available through Vodafone's music download store, although the company promises that will rise to 50,000 in just a few months.

Getting the pricing right for music on cell phones can be a headache. Vodafone charges about $2.75 for each song, and in Japan, carrier KDDI plans to launch a service this month that will offer wirelessly downloadable songs for between $2 and $3. That compares with the 99-cent price per song at Apple's iTunes and other PC-based download stores. In addition, the cost of downloaded tunes is easily comparable to the cost of buying a CD.
via CNET

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