updated 03:30 pm EDT, Thu April 10, 2008
Study on Mobile Music
A combination of disinterest and unnecessary hurdles is discouraging most cellphone users from using mobile music downloads, says a new Jupiter Research study (pay only). Although many Western carriers heavily promote their direct-to-phone services, approximately two thirds (66 percent) of the more than 1,800 respondents to the study say that nothing is likely to spur them into paying for music on a phone; 28 percent are interested in ringtones, while only 14 percent are interested in full tracks, according to the results.
Most users cite the price of downloads as the primary barrier and are looking for songs available for near the same 99-cent price as with music stores accessed from home, Jupiter says. With the exception of the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store and Sprint's Music Store, most cellular providers and phone store operators often charge a significant premium for wireless downloads, often claiming the need to offset the extra network bandwidth costs. This insistence is effectively driving customers to more traditional stores where they can either sideload music to the phone afterwards or else are confined to dedicated portable media players.
"Absent some exciting new business models, music labels and carriers will continue to cede most of the digital-music turf to Apple," Jupiter says.
Besides cost, phone users often consider the accessibility of music the next most pressing issue, with the ability to find the music they like and download it often frustrating those polled by Jupiter. Some also complain of copyright restrictions on downloaded tracks, many of which can't be copied away from the phone or only to a limited number of PCs.
The frequent use of iPods and other portable players, as well as the storage limits on most existing phones, are also listed as primary obstacles to those willing to consider over-the-air music purchases.