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January 27, 2009

Social Networking to Drive Mobile Music Services

Social networking and community-based services and applications will drive mobile music services in coming years, according to a new report, “Mobile Content & Services Industry Survey” from Informa Telecoms & Media.

Mobile social networking and community based services and applications have received attention and investment from the mobile industry in the last two years.
In 2008, more than 50 percent of internal mind-share companies focused on mobile social networking.
Of the 307 telecom professionals who participated in the survey, 71 percent believed that social networking and community services will have a meaningful impact on peer-to-peer (P2P) uptake of mobile content.
Many operators have begun offering mobile social networking services as part of their business strategy, the survey said.
The mobile music industry generated revenues worth over $9 billion in 2008 from ringtones, ringback tones (RBT), full-track downloads and music streaming services (excluding music videos).
Revenue from the mobile music segment is growing. The decline in ringtone revenue growth is being bolstered by the growth of full track download market, music streaming services and associated subscriptions.
However, some markets are showing growth in ringback tones. For instance, there are in excess of 110 million subscribers to RBT services in China alone. The U.S. and Western Europe have yet to see a similar amount of usage, although the number of subscribers is rising.
For mobile operators and mobile music service providers, presence of social networking or community feature as part of their music service will make the service more user- friendly and drive usage, while reducing customer churn.
There are several examples of mobile music services driven by social networking features.
MusicStation became the UK’s largest subscription based unlimited music download service within seven months of launching on Vodafone (News - Alert), which offered the service to its subscribers for £1.99 per week with no data charges. Vodafone has recently started offering the service on selected price plans at no extra charge.
TIM recently partnered with Buongiorno (News - Alert) Vitamic to offer a mytones service, combining mobile user generated music content and social networking to subscribers in Italy. Consumers create and upload ringtones, which is then made available for streaming and downloading.
Other examples of music services driven by social networking and community features include Shazam, Bebo Mobile, phling!, MyStrands and Vodafone Music Reporter.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart


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