Emerging markets to see mobile music access boom

Cloud-based music access for mobile phones is set to gather speed in emerging markets, while developed markets continue to find suitable models for its expansion.

A report published by Juniper Research shows that the number of users who pay a monthly subscription to access music online will reach 178 million in 2015, three times the amount of 2010.

Emerging markets are particularly responsible for the increase in usage of mobile music access, with the uptake in large markets like China and India, where 3G network access is becoming more prominent,  to account for a sharp rise in the amount of people downloading or streaming music through their handsets.

According to Dan Ashdown, author of the report, while streaming is established in developed markets the potential for emerging markets with large populations and rising mobile subscriber penetration means a “golden opportunity for mobile music services” with a compound annual growth rate of 24.2 percent.

This means that firms such as China Mobile and Bharti Airtel are particularly well placed to benefit from the shift towards cloud based streaming services.

In developed markets such as the UK and Europe, Ashdown told TechEye that as the move towards fourth generation connectivity takes place, coupled with the increasing sophistication of smartphones, mobile music services will continue to take hold.

“Cloud is the buzzword in these markets at the moment and while the launch of 3G services has significantly benefited mobile music, the rollout of 4G services will boost it further,” he said.

“Furthermore, users are finding that smartphones are now of similar, if not higher quality than high-end MP3 players, and include many other features.”

The report comes as two major firms in developed markets announced that they would be attempting to jump on the cloud music bandwagon, with Amazon announcing a range of cloud services.

According to Bill Carr, vice president of Movies and Music at Amazon, consumers are increasingly looking towards a more open approach to the way that they store and access music.

“Our customers have told us they don’t want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices,” Carr said.

“Now, whether at work, home, or on the go, customers can buy music from Amazon MP3, store it in the cloud and play it anywhere.”

Amazon will offer a free 5GB of storage to users, with 20GB available to those who purchase an MP3 album via the company’s online store.

Telecoms operator and ISP BT had plans of its own music service leaked to the Guardian, with talks ongoing with the major music labels over how the service will work.

It is thought that BT will initially provide free access to a Spotify-like streaming service, though this is expected to change into a payment service after a period of time.

What is interesting is that BT is making an attempt on its own to move users away from illegal file sharing that is inevitable as part of its packages, and towards a system than can potentially be monetised – something that the music industry has failed to wake up to, contributing to its own downfall