March 16, 2004

SMS music download billing not just for kids

Peter Gabriels legal music download outfit, OD2, has announced today it is set to launch an SMS billing system for paying for music downloads.

Later this week, it sounds like UK digital music retailer Wippit - which announced today it had a digital distribution deal with music giant BMG - will be launching its own SMS billing scheme as well.

Now, OD2 is apparently aiming the scheme at young people as many of them do not have credit cards. However, find me a yoof who doesnt have a mobile. Thus paying for music downloads via SMS - with the charge appearing on the bill at the end of the month - has tremendous potential. One possible hiccough, though, is the high percentage of pre-paid mobiles in the UK - where the scheme is first being launched - especially amongst the young. However, the ease of payment, as opposed to the hassle of fishing out a credit card every time you want to make a 0.99 payment - not to mention issues of security - could make the process attractive beyond the youth market the scheme is aimed at. Look at the (unfortunate) popularity of ringtones.

But what will really drive the market for legal downloads is the convergence of the mobile networks and large-memory, intuitive, user-friendly digital music players like Apples iPod. Nokia already has a couple of handsets on the market along these lines, but without the iPods easy-to-use interface and nowhere near its memory.

Nokias N-Gage is a dog - as an exec from games developer Electronic Arts called the handset two weeks ago - mostly because, outside of geeky teens - nobody wants to embarrass themselves by playing video games on the bus, especially when they have a full-featured game consol at home.

Music is different. Like the camera phone, you stick a serious music playing capability on mobile phones and people will use it everywhere - and no one is embarrassed by a pair of headphones.

As academic Dr Michael Bull told the BBC last week, portable music players are "multi-faceted transformative devices", a "tool whereby users manage space, time and the boundaries around the self." It sounds high-falootin but its true that ultimately we use portable music players to alter our mood, to relocate ourselves mentally, to cocoon ourselves from an increasingly media-saturated environment. This is especially so with the iPod - which is now outselling Apples iMacs - but weve known this since we started rocking out to Falcos Der Komissar on our yellow Sony Walkmans in the eighties (or was that just me?).

So where is the iPod Mobile?

Original article:
OD2 launches music download SMS billing - kinda News - SMS music download billing not just for kids

Posted by Craig at March 16, 2004 11:06 PM