Mobile Phones will soon become the primary means of discovery and distribution for digital music. The market penetration for mobile phones already far outstrips that of music players. “You’re still going to see millions of iPods sold,” Resnikoff says. “It’s a great item. It’s not going to go away. But the move is toward the iPhone and more diversified devices, more complicated systems. That’s where the battle really starts to heat up.”

Mobile phones are a radio-killing app, making the Web’s entire panoply of music fully portable. While music players are great repositories for music you already own, they aren’t gateways to what you might want to discover. To learn about new artists, many now look to online entities where they once spun the radio dial.

With personalized streams, shared playlists, and huge catalogs of music within arm’s reach, the mobile phone’s access to social networking sites, Internet radio, and subscription services threatens to revolutionize the idea of “broadcasting.” Using cellphones as their portals, online music companies can specifically target the techno-savvy, tastemaking under-35 demographic radio has left behind and offer programs tailored to personal tastes.

Read more from the SF Weekly.

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11 replies
  1. tom williams says:

    While I think eventually mobile will be the future of music, this future is still years (decades?) away. The problem is the speed of mobile connections. In a few big cities the 3G networks have improved this (slightly) but taken as a whole, America’s cellular network leaves a lot to be desired. This is the primary reason why the Long Tail was found to not apply well to mobile song downloads recently ( Download speeds are still way too slow for the vast majority of consumers, phones are a very awkward platform for searching for new music, and America is so huge that it will likely require large technological improvements before enough of the country is covered by high speed networks that some sort of tipping point can be reached. We need massively faster networks, phones with much improved internet navigation, and phones with much more storage (my ipod is 80GB…the largest iphone is 16GB…why would I change?).

    So in short, I agree with what you say but I think it’s still a long way off.

  2. Theo says:

    In many European countries, music labels get much more from mobile than from the web. UK is still web centric, but in France, Spain, Italy, etc… the digital music market is mainly mobile. and I4m not talking about Japan or Korea.

  3. Hoover says:

    This future is definitely taking shape. I think in terms of discovery, you’ll subscribe to some rss/txt service catered to you. You’ll get suggestions on your phone which you can then download from the cloud with your subscription (very low fee- $3/month or bundled in your mobile fee) to an all-you-can-eat music service.

    You’ll be able to access all your songs from another cloud service like and have your whole music collection at your finger tips without taking up any hard drive space.

    I think you’ll also be able to buy stuff with it as it will be linked to your credit card. They’ll just scan it somehow at the check-out counter. Your ID will be on the phone so when you’re going to a club/or bar you just flash your phone.

    The cell phone is going to become a central device for people. If it makes like easier for people, it will happen.


  4. Morgan Sully says:

    I also think we should think in terms of mobile *devices*. Telephony is just one of the things that a modern mobile phone does. Jan Chipchase did an excellent presentation on mobile phones.

    Basically, they’ve become a very basic technology we carry with us – right up there with wallets, keys and money – you never leave the house without them.

    When phones – mobile devices – start being able to replace or co-opt the above, things will start getting really, really interesting.

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