Monday, July 31, 2006

Dean Bubley: iPods and musicphones..... another angle

Dean Bubley posts at the Disruptive Wireless blog his thoughts on whether or not the Apple (AAPL) iPod will "get trounced by music-capable phones." He states that "It all depends on your angle, of course. Depending upon whether you sell music, make flash memory, run an operator, build devices, provide network backhaul capacity, design headphones, or a hundred other roles, your view of "what stat is important" will vary." Bubley lists out what he thinks matter:

  • Number of "music-capable" devices sold? (and do you include FM radio as well as MP3?)
  • Number of "music-optimised" devices sold (eg a SonyEricsson Walkman phone vs a SonyEricsson Cybershot imaging-oriented phone which also has an MP3 function)
  • Number of music-capable devices in use (ie addressable "installed base")
  • Number of music tracks sold, intended for a specific device? Their value?
  • Total hours of music listened to per user per day/week/year?
  • Total # of people who have ever used their device for music, even if only once?
  • Proportion of people who listen to music "regularly" on a platform
  • Source of music listened to (or bought) - mobile download, sideload from a PC, split between online purchases vs CD rips vs peer-to-peer filesharing?
  • Number of music devices per person and when/how they're used?
  • Proportion of someone's total music listening given per "context" - mobile / car / home hifi / gig / club / friend's house etc?
  • Total aggregate share of someone's entire disposal music-related expenditure?
  • etc. x 100
Bubley then spells out some "apples-to-apples comparison with some publicly-available data, which suggests that there may still a range of 2 orders of magnitude (ie a factor of 100) in terms of regularity of purchase of "music for devices"." He gives some calculations for the UK, Japan amd iPod music downloading markets. He finds:
legal device-oriented full-track music sales, averaged across all users/subscribers (yeah, I know definitions are a little different & some people have several phones or iPods) are:

UK mobile - about 0.25 songs / sub / year, rising to 0.5+ among 3G users (and using some other stats I've seen on what % ever download any music, probably about 2 songs / active mobile-music sub / year)

Japan mobile - about 2 songs / sub / year (and at 23% of KDDI users downloading music at all, about 11 songs / active mobile music sub / year)

iPod - about 20 songs / user / year

I reckon that's about as close to "apple-to-apples" as I can get on published data..