It's Time for American Carriers to Consider Music Services
By Eric Lin, Wed Jul 14 22:30:00 GMT 2004

An InStat-MDR survey shows that 11.4% of Americans are ready to experience more music on their phones. They'd like to try music download or streaming services.

Although the survey shows only a small percentage of Americans are interested in mobile music (11% out of about 1000 respondents), In-Stat claims that those who are interested are "high-value users with attractive demographic and wireless spending characteristics." They are young, professional males who typically spend about 14% more on their wireless bill than average. Confirming InStat's previous research on data use, those most interested were also less likely to be caucasian than the average subscriber.

Of those who responded positively, the highest number of those who responded extremely or very interested wanted music downloads. User-selected music streaming came in a close second, but it is worth noting that more people were extremely interested in streaming than downloads. Music from radio stations ranked third, followed by news/talk radio, news/talk streaming selections, and finally audio book or educational content.

Operators or analysts may use this data to make a case for American carriers to launch download services like T-Mobile or even O2. Carriers could make money from each download, and judging by the high prices charged by European carriers, they would expect to make a pretty penny. However even moreso than European subscribers, the American target demographic is already quite accustomed to buying songs online for 99 cents (or less) or even for free. Carriers would likely find charging more than one dollar an unpopular decision.

The fact that more people are extremely interested in streaming music and the total number of those interested in it is a very close second then becomes noteworthy. Another factor worth noting is that those who want music the most are most likely on Sprint on T-Mobile, which each charge about $10 per month for unlimited data. Why not take advantage of the fact that the users are already paying for an unlimited data tariff and launch Sony's StreamMan or a similar service? InStat and other analysts have suggested that it's best to offer mobile services complementary to those on a PC. This could be a perfect fit.