Consumers Love Music Phones

Sales of music phones is increasing at a lightening pace in both Europe and the United States according to new research from mobile market authority M:Metrics.
Defined as a handset capable of music storage and playback, music phones are on the increase with the highest in the UK at 40%. The Germans sit in second place with 34%, with Italy (32%), Spain (29%) and France (23%) not far behind.

Although the US’s penetration of music phones is only 17% of all mobile handsets, this is a huge 385% increase over the last year.

31 percent of those that use both a musicphone and a digital music player in the United States selected their musicphone as their primary music device, while 11 percent use both equally.

This sounds like good news to suppliers of over-the-air content, but the majority of music on these handsets is "sideloaded", meaning users are syncing their collections to the handset from their computers rather than purchasing tunes via their handsets. For instance, 67 per cent of Sony Ericsson W850i owners in the UK listen to sideloaded music on their phone.

Not good news for Sony’s new PlayNow service, as their Walkmans top the list for sideloading. The W850i is top at 67% followed by the W810i (59%) and the W800i (52%).

In the US, Motorola SLVR L7 or LG Chocolate owners who also use standalone digital music players are 60 per cent more likely than average to use these phones as their primary music players.

M:Metrics analyst Jen Wu said: The prevalence of sideloading, largely shaped by current usage and understanding of digital music players, shows that the perceived value in musicphones is still in the ability to make one’s personal music collection portable, as opposed to a new acquisition point for music,”

“There are plenty of musicphones which can play music, but a small handful of these, designed and marketed specifically for music playback, is accelerating awareness and interest in hybrid phone/music players."

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