Should Music Services Be Device Specific?
By Mike Masnick, Thu Apr 14 01:00:00 GMT 2005

Newer and more innovative mobile music services are launching, but does tying music to one specific device really make sense?

The obsession of many in both the music and mobile industries with making music mobile is not at all new. However, as more innovative mobile music services finally reach the market, you might wonder why these services should be limited to mobile devices alone.

Groove Mobile is the latest to recognize that a mobile music service needs to go beyond straight streaming radio, and is offering a service to create personalized mobile music offerings that try to combine a lot of information about you, your musical tastes and your musical purchase histories, to not only create a music stream that interests you, but also that introduces you to new acts you're likely to enjoy. The company already offers a "Tell A Friend" service that lets mobile users recommend new songs to friends and even forward sections of songs.

The service certainly sounds a lot more compelling than many other mobile music offerings -- but is its mobile nature more of a limiting factor than an enabling one? With people now listening to music in many different ways -- on their computer, on their stereo, on their iPod, on their car stereo, etc -- the risk is that a mobile music service just adds one more way to pile on. The obvious response from the mobile side is that, since people have their mobile phones with them all the time, it can replace all of those other ways to obtain and listen to music. The problem, though, is that so far, very few actually make it easy to do so. Motorola seems to have the right idea with its new iRadio offering, which is designed to easily tie into home and car stereos from the handset, but other services that are simply stuck on the handset only seem to make things more complex, not less. Mobile music solutions that want to really catch on need to figure out ways to jump off of the mobile device, and tie in with all of the other ways that people obtain and listen to music.