Internet Users Want Free, Ad-Supported Music

Musical-notes

Most consumers don't want to pay for music they listen to using mobile devices, including iPods, MP3 players and smartphones, according to new meta-study from Strategy Analytics, based on its analysis of a number of previous studies.

In terms of paid mobile downloads, Strategy Analytics Vice President Kevin Nolan stated: "Participants see a la carte mobile downloads like iTunes and Amazon MP3 as a way to supplement their music collection while on the go, but will not pay a premium for such services."

Ad-supported free services are more on-target with consumer preferences, according to Paul Brown, Strategy Analytics director of user experience. He said: "Ad-supported streaming services, such as Pandora and Slacker, provide compelling ways for users to access and discover new music." True, this potential is tempered somewhat by the continuing problem of illegal downloading -- typically to a desktop for transfer to a mobile device.

In July, Pandora said the majority of its new subscribers were coming through mobile channels, thanks in part to the boom in smartphones. Founder Tim Westergren told an industry conference: "We get about 90,000 new people a day who activate Pandora on a mobile device, and that number is growing." Overall, roughly 30 million of Pandora's 58 million registered users access the service through smartphones.

That same month, Slacker said mobile users make up roughly half its monthly user base of about 2.5 million -- up from virtually nothing a year before.

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