Thursday, October 27, 2005

Jupiter: The Music Phone Dilemma

The headline seems appropriate because there seems to be a music phone dilemma at Jupiter too. The other day Joseph Laszlo concluded his post about the Motorola Rokr music phone with these words:

Still, though, it's early days. We do think that over the long haul, there'll be more music-capable cellphones in the US than standalone MP3 players. Even if the ROKR doesn't rock, other music handsets will.
In a later posting, David Card kicks off a post about music phones at the Jupiter Analyst Weblogs by stating,
If anyone's still puzzling over why Jupiter remains lukewarm on music phones, Wired has a really solid story detailing the supply-side challenges. Carriers, handsets, labels, and Apple.
While their stand towards music phones might be confusing, there's no confusion over how they feel towards the music industry. Card points out a quote in the Wired article from a Warner music exec, who said, "The price associated with iTunes' launch was really about establishing some traction with consumers where there had been complete failure to show that people would pay any price. Where you don't have that artificial price depression, people are willing to pay more to get what they want, when they want."

Card rightfully lights into the reality-deprived exec by remarking:
"Artificial price depression"!?! Hey, I'm a believer in price discrimination -- for early access, for big stars, maybe -- but come on, the labels and publishers are keeping 65 cents of the 99 already...darn good margins. Consumers have been telling us consistently during three years' worth of surveys that 99 cents is the sweet spot.
Sometimes you really have to wonder what they are smoking in the music biz. The sooner the industry realizes ringtones are an anomaly the better off they'll be. Honestly, what consumer in their right mind will pay ringtone prices for a full song? Maybe a buck fitty at the max if it's something special, but otherwise it's 99 cents or free...