Over US$13 billion (7.2 billion) will be generated by all forms of mobile music by 2011, according to a report just out from Informa Telecoms & Media.
The report, Mobile Music - Creating a ubiquitous market for music services (4th edition), says a large proportion of this revenue is still derived from ring-tones, with ring back tones starting to make significant contributions to this growth. The steady growth in full track downloads (FTD) and streaming audio services is also helping to raise the profile of the mobile phone as a credible music device, the report says.
The report says the greatest proportion of the revenues will emanate from Asia-Pacific, which accounts for 56% of the market total in 2006, with Japan making up 46% of this total in 2006. The report stresses that a new growth market in China starts to become evident by 2011, when the region contributes 25% to overall Asia-Pacific revenues and is the next mobile music hot spot.
According to Informa, in conjunction with the mobile operators who have concentrated on rolling out advanced music services, the handset vendors have exerted equal time and energy over the last year establishing advanced handsets that have MP3 functionality and large hard drives. Thus the notion of the mobile handset as a realistic rival to the iPod is gaining impetus.
"There is no doubt that the market for mobile music is slowly becoming recognised as a credible alternative to the I-pod says the reports main author, Nicky Walton. However, it is absolutely imperative that the industry understands that mobile music is not going to replace the iPod in the same way that the iPod is not going to prevent growth of mobile music. It will be the case that the two formats will continue to operate competitively side by side."
Moreover, Informa predicts that the inevitable move towards flat-rate monthly packet charges will result in the imminent emergence of larger files of up to at least 200Kb. This will result in a rise in demand for music videos that will have mobile providers looking to obtain rights for a variety of music video footage.
The report is available from Informa for: 2495.
To see a Share of mobile music revenues in 2011 graph, click here.