Mobile Music: the new candyfloss

Everyone’s being saying it for a while, but now it’s truer than ever. The distribution piece is now a bun-fight over numbers. Some new players may come into the game with easier or simpler user-interface solutions, but essentially the selling and distributing of the music digitally is done. The choice as to whether you pay or not remains entirely open. But the real shift now is from distribution to discovery. So – now that we have infinite digital shelves full of inifinite numbers of digital files – how are we going to decide what on earth to listen to?

Tunecore just got funded with $7m to hook up a great big hose to iTunes and allow anybody with a track to post it for sale on the hallowed site. Vanity publishing has always been a good little earner….

At the MusicExpo event this week, mobile music service Comes with Music from Nokia got big plaudits from the guy from Nokia (ex-OD2) and Rob Wells the man from Universal (ex-BMG).  But both were careful to emphasise the fact that downloadable music for the CWM service is more likely to be downloaded onto the pc than onto the mobile and then sideloaded to the handset afterwards. Because the bandwidth costs are too high for most people to risk spending that much on a download.

So then, one has to ask, why not just download it for free from Limewire or rip it from a CD and then sideload it to your phone – like any self-respecting 12 year old is doing already?

Aah, but it’s easier? Is it? And it feels like free? Sort of.

Then of course there is a slightly moot point lurking beneath the surface about the scale of your downloading. This an “eat as much as you want” service, unless  you eat too much in which case according to the CWM T&Cs you might be subject to additional charges if you want to keep all your music at the end of  your subscription period. So if I really like  your service, they may not really treat me nice.

The funny thing is that it’s only if you really upload a lot of music to Limewire that they try to sue you. There’s some analogy here about penalising the really active music fan… sounds familiar…?


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