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Music on cell phones? But who wants it?

Music on cell phones? But who wants it?

Rome – US mobile operators – and beyond – are still waiting for mobile music sales to take effect… on budgets. As reported by Reuters / Billboard, the industry of the sector is still struggling with immature business models or in any case still in the testing phase. The choices, to tell the truth, are not many: purchase à la carte or forfeit subscription. Most carriers still rely on the former, but experts say the money will only come from the latter.

AT&T, for example, last week launched the Napster Mobile service which allows you to purchase an audio track for $ 2. The medium-term goal, however, is to offer an unlimited download subscription. According to Rob Hyatt, director of premium content at AT&T, it will take some time as there are still issues related to technology, pricing and consumer education.

From a technological point of view, the problem is not so much the download traffic, but the software. For Brad Duea, CEO of Napster, the platforms should allow the management of monthly renewable subscriptions – a bit like it already happens in Japan with the services of NTT DoCoMo.

The second issue concerns tariffs: operators have yet to find a balance between the costs of the traffic generated and the price lists applicable to subscriptions. In Europe MusicStation allows you to download all the music you want to mobile phones for 1.99 pounds (2.8 euros) per week. As Reuters points out, in the United States the same service would cost much more, perhaps, to be honest, due to the difference in maturity of the two markets. US mobile operators are well aware that online services that offer subscription music have not yet been very successful: why risk proposing the same model in the mobile environment?

In short, everyone hopes to go beyond the ringtone market, but it will take some time. This is confirmed above all by the data recently disclosed by Sony BMG. “Mobile revenues have flattened out, while online revenues are growing steadily,” said Ian Henderson, director of the music giant’s European division. “Subscription music services are starting to come out anyway, and so I think they will help to lift the situation.” The starting scenario, however, is clear: in the last six months online music sales have grown by 50%, mobile sales have nearly zero.

Faced with the expectation of a market that shows no signs of taking off, someone throws another possibility into the fray of the big music business: the revival of vinyl. Eliot Van Buskirk makes a very bizarre thesis on Wired in great detail: the majors would not have noticed the renewed interest of consumers in LPs and vinyl singles. It is not clear whether it is a pamphlet in defense of the rights of nostalgic passions or a suggestion to economically ride an unexpected fashion regurgitation. What is certain is that in Italy, according to the data collected by Bocconi ASK, vinyl seems to be a closed chapter. Last year, out of 26 million music carriers sold, there were no more than 12 thousand albums and singles in fine vinyl. To the delight of ecologists, oncologists and residents of Porto Marghera – its petrochemical also distinguished itself in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC – vinyl).

Dario d’Elia