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Study: 50% of phones playing music by 2011

updated 04:45 pm EDT, Mon March 24, 2008

Study on Music Phones

Fully half of all phones shipped in the world will be music-capable within three years, according to a study by MultiMedia Intelligence. The research group estimates that while the cellphone market will largely remain flat, with 941 million phones being sold in 2011, about 50 percent of those devices will have at least some level music playback. This includes both high-end devices as well any phone that offers at least support for non-ringtone music files and a memory slot, the company said.

MMI does not say whether the reference to a slot excludes devices with large amounts of built-in storage but which lack removable cards, such as the iPhone or Nokia's N95 8GB.

The surge in music is also cited as one of the key drivers behind future success for cellular carriers, which have often struggled to have customers spend extra on services and third-party applications. Music stores and an emphasis on music phones should be the "killer app" for providers that results in $6 billion in mobile music business just for 2008 alone, says MMI chief researcher Frank Dickson.

The study comes at a time when the first carrier-independent music stores are opening and are shifting some music revenue away from the carrier model. Apple offers its iTunes Store for iPhone users connecting via Wi-Fi, while Nokia has been gradually introducing the Nokia Music Store across multiple countries and for any provider with a fast-enough cellular Internet connection. [via Crave]

by MacNN Staff



  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    how about...

    100% of Apple phones are also a great music player, since 2007?

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wonder if Nokia will charge you for your music every 90 days like they do now for ring tones.

    When I hear that ringtones only last 90 days and then you have to buy them again (except for iPhone ring tones), I could not believe it.


  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment forwarding

    I'll put this out there from the responses to the original article on CNET. Why are there already so many phones already have music playing capability? That's what carriers offer and is the lowest price after being subsidized by phone plan rates.

    A more realistic number would have considered how many people actually USE their phone as their primary music device. Let's face it- most music phones are c***. Interfaces are clumsy, and much of the time, you're locked into using songs in niche formats (wma) or buying from the network, which overcharges 2+times what you can buy songs for elsewhere.

    Until more phones adapt iPhone-like interfaces and abilties to interfaces with people's existing music library application (vast majority uses iTunes) and large libraries, we're not going to see people actually use their phones as the players of the day.

    That being said, many high-end phones are adopting iPhone interfaces, going so far as to copy it almost percisely. Step one has begun. How long until we see step 2? Probably as soon as we see more carriers willing to part with their nuts-in-a-vice hold on people's hardware.

  1. malckwan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Question for iPhone Users

    Wondering how many iPhone owners actually use their iPhones to listen to music? Seems a little fussy having to keep the ear phones handy for that.

    Just wondering...

  1. Visnaut

    Joined: Dec 1969


    LOL @ malckwan

    Seriously, most iPhone buyers are existing iPod users. People who are undoubtedly used to managing their music with iTunes, and "get" why it's a great system, and wanted a phone that worked just as well. Putting music onto it is no different than on an iPod, so I'm sure people are putting music on it.

    And really, how is dropping the iPhone and a set of headphones into your pocket any different, or worse than dropping a S***** cellphone, an iPod, and a set of headphones into your pocket?

    And if you forget your headphones, you can even play music through the iPhone's external speaker, if you're so inclined.

    Simply put, your logic makes no sense.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: lol

    No, he has no logic (you're the one espousing logic). He's asking a simple question. How many iPhone users also use it as an iPod.

    I'm not sure why you're going on about users already using iTunes has to do with this question.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: comment forwarding

    Until more phones adapt iPhone-like interfaces

    And if Phones get an iPhone like interface, they get slammed for being copycats of the iphone (and why do they need an iPhone interface? Wouldn't an iPod interface be just as good? Or are you saying on a phone, the ipod interface just sucks for playing music)?

    and abilties to interfaces with people's existing music library application (vast majority uses iTunes) and large libraries, we're not going to see people actually use their phones as the players of the day.

    Wow, and isn't it interesting that Apple has no built-in API to iTunes to let it talk to other devices. And with them not licensing FairPlay, then it doesn't matter, since you couldn't play any iTMS music on any device anyway.

    So, basically, Apple is keeping you from using iTunes (your majority of users use it) with other devices, and even if it did work, Apple is keeping you from playing your iTMS music on said device.

    Of course, Apple claims to want to be DRM free now, but since they've already locked in their audience, it's like MS saying "We're now going to support standards!".

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