Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Verizon brings music right into your cell phone

The San Jose Mercury News has another article on Verizon's launch of its V Cast Music. This one has a good quote from Gartner analyst Mike McGuire, who said, "I can envision a certain number of online music consumers, at some point during the day, saying, `Oh my God, I heard a song and I've got to have it right now.' That's going to be something they do the first couple of times, and when they see their bill at the end of the month, they're going to say to themselves, `Perhaps restraint is called for.'"

McGuire pointed out that "battery life, download speed, file-storage space and, of course, price are all important considerations, but it all depends on whether people are ready to adopt music on their mobile phones." According to a recent Gartner study, "fewer than 5 percent of U.S. cell phone users take advantage of music and video downloads."

McGuire nails it, except I have a hard time seeing the target audience using the words, "perhaps restraint is called for." Four-letter curses are more likely. At the current prices, the OTA full music download market will be mostly a novelty until carriers realize they need to drop prices. And you can't use the ringtone argument to suggest the music market is ripe for OTA downloads and outrageous pricing because a) ringtones are all about personalization and not music b) there is no market equivalent in the PC world. Ringtones are unique to the celluar market, while music downloads are not...