The phones are out there, the stores are ready to receive customers but the combined problems of poor interface and overpricing have held back the mobile music market. Apart from the mobile-centric markets of Japan and Korea of course. Happily, the removal of one of those problems could be imminent if mobile operators follow the example of US telephony company Sprint, which has announced plans to drop pricing across its 1.5 million song catalogue to 99 US cents per song from $2.49.
It seems that operators may well have realised that the thrill and easy access to music through a mobile phone is not worth the premium they’ve been trying to levy.
Interface issues could well be shaken up by the release of Apple’s iPhone, which if it delivers the experience promised by Steve Jobs could prove a turning point for notoriously poor phone interface design and interaction. Anyone who has had one brand of phone for a time and then swapped to another will know exactly what I mean.
In the UK, the biggest hurdle, besides pricing, remains data tariffs which can often inflate the cost of downloading a song by more than 100%.