Remember when you bought your first iPod? We were all so excited to have all our music in one spot and were amazed as to how we could listen to anything we had at anytime without having to lug around a bag full of CDs in jewel cases or in those crazy Case Logic carrying cases. Remember those? Should have invested in those in the mid-90’s!
Even though we had the iPod at our disposal, we still had the other important device in our other pocket — our cell phone. We’d play a delicate game of balancing the cell phone in one hand then the ipod in the pocket then vice-versa or the most talented of us would carry both in one hand, like a brick of technology and walk around with our $300 sandwich of tech gizmos.
Today, most people have decided that they only want one device in their pocket – the cell phone.
How can this one decision make the carriers the future of the music industry?
There’s a multitude of reasons why but let me tell you my top 3 in no particular order:
1. The Carriers Control Their Handsets: All carriers work with cell phone manufacturers to secure the hottest phones. AT&T was first carrier to have the iPhone and for a while they were the only carrier to offer it. All the techy consumers would all go to AT&T just for the iPhone regardless of how the actual cell phone coverage was. These new phones would showcase the phones features in order to lure people to their service. One of the main features of the iPhone was the integration of the music player (iPod) and the phone together in one. Once labels saw the power of the iPhone and iTunes, labels now had to work with Apple — who prior to this were only really interested in selling computers and iPods and didn’t really care about what music sold.
2. Streaming Services Offer Mobile Subscriptions: With streaming music becoming more and more popular, the streaming service knew that other than their computer based subscribers, they had to offer a mobile application that they can extend the desktop experience to the phone. These mobile subscribers would now be able to stream more music than ever before and thus affecting the labels bottom line on streaming revenue. The mobile subscription model appears to be working especially with companies like Muve Music, Spotify and Rhapsody sporting claims to over 1 million subscribers each.
3. The carriers dictate what gets programmed. Other than the iTunes Store (which is programmed by the music wunderkinds at Apple) the majority of other carriers music stores are programmed by people employed by the carriers. In fact, most mobile companies pillage and squeeze out people from what can be a tough music industry and employ them in house. Every time you open the Google Music store or the Verizon Music ringtone store, those things are there because someone wanted them there. The placement of those items greatly affect the sales of the song as much as the old endcaps from the old brick-and-mortar record stores.
Mobile is an ever expanding and evolving industry. The music industry must keep up with the times and help the carriers in their evolution in order to stay relevant.