Report: Mobile Music Revenue To Hit $5.5 Billion In 2013

ipod silohuetteRevenue from streamed music and full-track downloads on mobile phones will grow from $2.5 billion to $5.5 billion worldwide in the next five years as increased applications, all-you-can-eat data plans and more user-friendly services combine to drive up sales, according to a new forecast by Juniper Research.

Windsor Holden, an analyst at the U.K.-based mobile research firm, points to a widening array of mobile music initiatives from music streaming service Pandora, with 2 million mobile users, to T-Mobile's Mobile Jukebox to Samsung's Beat DJ, as evidence of increased consumer uptake.

"These are just snippets, but they are not isolated cases," he wrote in a blog post. Holden went on to argue that wireless operators are increasingly convinced that not only are customers willing to use their mobile phones for accessing music, but that a significant proportion view music as a key component of their mobile service.

While traditional mobile music services such as ringtones and realtones are in decline, the report notes that more sophisticated music offerings are taking their place. "Recent positive developments, such as Apple announcing that iPhone customers can use the 3G network to download full-tracks, will offer a further stimulus to growth," according to Holden.

Juniper wasn't as optimistic about ad-supported music services as a result of the global economic downturn. Because of ad budget cutbacks, it warned that ad spend could amount to only half of pre-downturn estimates under the worst case scenario.

Geographically, the report predicts that the Far East region and China will account for the largest share of mobile music revenue through 2013, followed by Western Europe. A separate new report from Forrester Research found that while only 6% of online European consumers streamed or downloaded music on mobile phones, that figure jumped to 18% among smartphone owners, and 32% among smartphone owners with unlimited mobile Web access.

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