Hitting the Right Note

David Murphy

KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity, which develops global wireless communities, predicts a bright future for mobile social networking, fuelled by the music industry, in 2008


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2007 saw unprecedented consumer adoption of social networking services
and this growth shows no signs of abating, but in fact extending to the
mobile domain. Juniper predicts a huge increase of mobile social
networkers from 14 million in 2007 to nearly 600 million in 2012.
One
element that contributes towards the increased uptake of mobile social
networks is the music industry. And in turn, the growth of the music
industry is being fuelled by mobile social networking, with mobile
community users downloading and sharing ringtones and music files
faster than hot new artists can produce them. While 2007 saw a lot of
controversy surrounding the online and mobile music markets, the
recording industry is finally beginning to publicly acknowledge the
fact that music downloading/P2P sharing is not responsible for the ills
of the music industry or even the (eventual) death of the CD. 
More
record labels, including music giant Warner Music, are beginning to
sell music online, and at a cheaper price as more and more popular
music begins to enter the public domain. The rising popularity of
independent music will promote the practice of file sharing which will
encourage a larger music following online. Networked communities are
key drivers to this explosion of online and mobile music uptake,
particularly the more specific mobile networked communities, as they
provide low cost and easy distribution pathways to niche producers of
music (and video) content.
Mobile communities provide a closer,
more intimate experience between musicians and  their fans, and will be
the social media of choice in the evolved music industry of 2008. Not
only does the medium of mobile prove extremely effective at targeting
predetermined social network groups, but with many users having limited
access to the Internet via a PC, mobiles are now emerging as the most
convenient and popular way to quickly discover cool new music which can
then be downloaded directly on to their handsets.
In 2008, more
and more mobile carriers and mobile content providers will tap into
this fast-growing market, focusing on music and videos as a cornerstone
of their offering, with mobile communities continuing to fuel the
uptake of mobile music as users share and develop their music tastes
and knowledge via the medium of mobile social networking.