Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Killer Platform For 3G?....

It wouldn't be right if I didn't ponder a big topic, so here goes more pondering about music and the mobile phone.

Here's where I started. From Interesting mobile music info.

a recent Consumer Mobility Study by In-Stat/MDR finds that 11.4% of US mobile subscribers are very or extremely interested in moving beyond basic ringtones and purchasing more full-featured music/audio services for their wireless phones including music and news/talk content available as downloadable content or on demand. The most popular service concept is the ability to download MP3s or other digital music files directly to wireless handsets, followed closely by the ability to listen to streaming music on demand.

I can't help but think that we can learn from previous mistakes.

Take Napster and their ability to bring broadband to the mainstream Internet access to the PC, and combine that same music downloading demand with a cell phone. Would you or could you force service providers to push 3G faster to the consumer?

There will have to be a wireless application that consumers will want,and requires higher speeds, in order for consumers to pay up for this. I'm guessing here, but if you had a downloadable app or preinstalled platform that people would demand when choosing a service provider and plan, THEY WOULD GIVE THE SERVICE PROVIDER PERMISSION to market to them.

What was the hottest topic at GSM conference? Downloading music on phones.

Now heres my idea.

This can be one or all type of platform. There are a few ways I see how an Itunes or an EMI music could implement this.

You're not going to do a Google search for Billy Joel, so the time consuming search for the artist and the songs is eliminated. The user knows its Billy Joel or U2, so it's more of a info retrieval process than search (which is how Internet on cell phone should be treated).

What if you could send a text with subject "billyjoel" to this creative company and get back a list of songs that would be downloadable to your cellphone via an SMS. An SMS is faster than surfing, so the available "list" of billyjoel songs comes back as a menu. Click on the desired song, Piano Man , and the song is transferred/downloaded to your cell phone. The downloading would be the time comsuming part and this would be the incentive to get higher speeds implemented.

You probably could even use "billyjoel" as your identifier and let some server resolve what info should be send back. Could a platform be put on a phone that wouldnt even need to surf the net?

Say you typed in "billyjoel" into this search bar (I think navigation would be more appropriate). The platform deciphers "billyjoel" and they issue all songs available for download.

By sending a text (SMS) you have bypassed the browser for searching. You are staying in this selected music world for those songs available from that company.

Itunes or EMI could publish a catalog with numbers for specific songs that can be downloaded. Service providers could give this out when you sign up for this service.

Another idea I've been suggesting. A creative company could start a music downloading service that would allow any song to be downloaded just by entering in the barcode of a CD or snapping a picture of the barcode and let the resolver decode. The menu of the songs on that CD would come up on cell screen (just like you see at a Virgin Megastore or FYE store) and user could click on selected song and download.

Take that one step further. Any concert ticket, movie poster with soundtrack could now include songs available for downloading.

This creative company wouldn't even need a service provider to implement this.

This creative company could work a deal with Sirius,XMSR that when any song is played, the user could dial a specific number and have the song downloaded OR just publish a specific number on the screen for that song. For instance, U2's A Beautiful Day is playing on SIRIUS. On the display you see U2 Beautiful Day (18726).
Send a text to SIRIUS with subject 18726 and song gets downloaded. Or send a text to this creative company with subject 18726 and they resolve the identifier for this song. Let SIRIUS get a cut of the biz.

All you need is access/permission to a music database. This is constantly changing, so recurring revenues occur here. You also need a software program or platform that allows the resolving of a barcode. That's it.

Access to one of the largest music databases, and a way to download from it. There's an eBay in the making there.

What if you had a program called BUGLE, or BOOGLE. This program would be desired by all 18-34 olds. Download or preinstall from phone company. Anytime you clicked on a barcode, or type in ANY artist name (U2, billyjoel) a list of all of their somgs would come up. Then it's up to the consumer to download.

Would you charge an unlimited monthly fee? Per song? The minutes on your service plan are involved so you have to think about consumer a bit here.

Part of the stipulation with BOOGLE or BUGLE is this company's ability to market to you through the mobile. I think this permission would be very easy to get.

Just some ideas, I think it works but who will be creative enough to offer to consumers? Phone manuf should focus on what platform should be pre-installed to handle this. I know one.

Still pondering but I think I'm getting close to finding the solution.

Thoughts, comments?


Anonymous said...


My bet is on Virgin Mobile as the first one to implement the solution you propose. Their demographics fit perfectly (18-34). Music stores and mobile phones could just be the start of a whopper of an opportunity. You could take the info gained from their music downloading business and branch into permission marketing for travel, books, cars, clothes - anything that young people want to spend their extra money on. You could offer free downloads for every time they are contacted by a brand manager they identified. You could even have them choose their own rewards program based on the portfolio of businesses you own (Virgin owns a lot). -Walden-

Scott Shaffer said...

Combine the desire 18-34 yr olds have for music, and brands seeking permission to market to them and get a whopper of an opportunity.

Anonymous said...

My mother asked me,"Why would any one want to download music?"

Scott Shaffer said...

Is Bill Gates reading my blog? Whoever you are, you "get it"...