CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

HolidayBuyer's Guide
Culture

Apple rules the mobile music world

Apple should be praised and thanked for helping the music industry figure out one more way to monetize its digital assets.

Just when you think the world has been figured out once and for all, it changes. One recent example is the music industry, which thought it had everything settled until digitization came along and spoiled the party. That "party" is set to become much more interesting and profitable for the studios again as digitization moves into the mobile world, as The Times points out.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one's perspective) for the studios, they're no longer in charge. Apple is, because it has figured out music, then mobile, and is now wedding the two. Now the mobile operators are trying to catch up all of a sudden thanks to Apple's iPhone...

...which has set off an avalanche of traditional mobile phone operators into the music market. They fear that a vital source of revenue could be seized from under them.

The market has huge potential: consumers could be spending as much as $32 billion (£15.5 billion) a year buying music on their handsets by 2010, analysts believe. And the success of the iPhone - Orange sold 30,000 in five days - has served to focus Vodafone and its rivals on trying to snare a chunk of the revenue....

Since splashing out £22.5 billion on 3G licences the phone companies have tried desperately to coax users into more lucrative data services ? such as music, games and e-mailing ? instead of only calling and texting. Music, with its wide-reaching appeal, has been singled out as the most likely route to success....

The slow take-up has also troubled the music majors, which are struggling with their worst year. The industry is desperate to boost digital sales, which, though rising, have yet to make up for fast-falling CD sales. The mobile phone, with its huge reach, could be its saviour.

Let's connect the dots. The music industry needs money which means that it needs monetizable distribution. Mobile industry has monetizable distribution but little to monetize. Apple helps both get together. Everyone is happy.

The entertainment industry has struggled through a few years of confusion as to how to get paid for its wares. That's all it was (or needed to be): a momentary lapse of reason. People will pay for value but the industry was trying to shove consumers back into old ways of consuming music.

Mobile fits the way people live and, I suspect, the way they'll be happy to buy their music. Thanks, Apple, for wedding mobile with music. They'll appreciate it. Some day.