Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mobile hang-up: The market is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

Mobile phone music figures are disappointing two, possibly three, industries at once with the announcement of how tiny a portion of the total download market they hold is:

According to Forrester Research, U.S. music fans purchased $1.7 billion worth of music downloads in 2007 (singles and albums combined) but spent only $249 million on subscription services. While the firm projects download revenue to surge 65 percent this year to $2.8 billion, it expects subscription revenue to climb a far more modest 15 percent to $287 million.

There's a lot of humming and hawing and heads being scratched with industrial-sized consultant nails trying to figure out this surprising conundrum. Yes, yes, we know that the answer - people aren't that keen on the subscription model and want to use the tracks they already own on their PC on their phone, and aren't so dumb as to buy the same file twice - is as obvious as a punchline on My Family, but this is the music industry we're talking about.