Holistic view needed for APAC mobile music

Melissa Chua
23 Feb 2011

Apple’s iTunes has proven itself an undisputed success, but the fate of other music download services in the Asia Pacific still hangs in the balance.

A report from Research and Markets estimates the number of mobile music download users in the region will increase from 315.5 million in 2009 to 734.4 million 2014.

Digital music retail revenue from the mobile channel is expected to increase from $1.4 billion in 2009 to a staggering $9.3 billion in 2014. What the report doesn’t state is how big a bite Apple’s brainchild may take out of this pie.

With Nokia’s recent closure of its Comes With Music service in all but six emerging markets worldwide (China, India and Indonesia being the only three from the Asia Pacific), presumably due to lack of uptake, the question as to whether operators could pose a serious challenge to iTunes continues to linger.

Edward Ying, SingTel’s chief of multimedia, believes the operator driven music download storefront needs differentiation in order to succeed. And success need not be quantified strictly by the service’s bottom line.

According to Ying, operators are empowered to offer additional perks to the basic music download service. SingTel’s AMPed music service is offered as a free, device-agnostic service to most of its post-paid mobile data customers. About 20% of SingTel’s AMPed customer base has been classified as active users. The service’s database of 1.8 million songs contains tracks from major labels such as Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI.

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