October 14, 2010, 12:23 PM

Mobile ups the tempo of online music sales

Access via mobile devices is driving up online music subscriptions, Rhapsody.com says.

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With a boost from mobile access, online music subscription revenue will double over the next year, Jon Maples, senior director of product development at web music retailer Rhapsody.com, said at the Mobile Commerce Forum in Chicago this week.

“Mobile is changing the market,” Maples said. “We’re starting to see mobile driving a lot of usage.” He addressed the forum in a session titled “Getting to music goers on the go.”

Maples noted that, until recently, it has been difficult to convert people who downloaded online music to becoming paid subscribers. But since Rhapsody launched mobile apps for the iPhone in April 2009 and for Android phones in April 2010, the conversion rate has increased, Maples said. Rhapsody expects to launch an app for BlackBerry phones this week, he added.

Sales to consumers who used iPhone and Android phones accounted for 2% of paid online music plays as of March 2010, but by July accounted for more than 10%, Maples said.

Going forward, Rhapsody will continue to develop new ways to let mobile phone users enjoy downloaded music, he added. For example, the e-retailer is working on geolocation features that will let users program the Rhapsody service to play particular music while they’re in certain situations, such as driving a car.


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