Screen Digest predicts massive five-year growth

LONDON — Media analyst Screen Digest is predicting a tenfold increase in the size of the market for delivering music direct to mobile phones during the next five years.

Screen Digest forecasts that the mobile music download market will reach $2.2 billion by 2012 vs. just $226 million last year. Japan will lead the way and will account for 60% of the global market, or $1.3 billion, by 2012.

The firm predicts that, by comparison, the online music market will be worth $5.3 billion by 2012 vs. $1.3 billion last year.

The analysts are making the growth prediction ahead of the launch, two months from now, of Apple’s iPhone.

“Industry players are jostling to enter a rapidly growing market with the right products and business models,” Screen Digest digital music specialist Dan Cryan said. “On the one hand, we have Apple’s iPhone, the first generation of which doesn’t lend itself it to over-the-air music downloads. On the other we have a raft of services — subscription and a la carte — being launched by mobile phone operators and digital music providers. These represent very different approaches to buying music for your mobile, with Apple encouraging side-loading from the PC to the phone and the mobile operators encouraging over-the-air downloads.”

Cryan also believes the emergence of subscription-based business models will account for two thirds of total mobile music revenues worldwide by 2012, with the remainder of the market split between single track and music video downloads.

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