At the CES Mobile Entertainment event, executives from Pandora, SanDisk, Motorola and Sony Ericsson discussed the mobile music industry with a couple of themes standing out:
iTunes will allow full-track music downloads over-the-air for the same price, and whether negotiations with music labels, are finally starting to loosen up.
On music-label negotiations, David Thompson, head of content acquisition for Sony Ericsson: “The labels are realizing that digital is what matters, and since online is saturated, the only new money is in mobile. The labels are much more willing to come to the table and negotiate.”
Recent reports suggest that mobile music sales will double from EUR 1.6 billion (£1.26 billion) this year to EUR 3.2 billion (£2.52 billion) in 2012.
Artist Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em made a short appearance at the Billboard Digital Music Live Conference at CES, and said with the way the music industry is today, it’s all about looking beyond the music in order to make money. He just launched a shoe brand, a cartoon, has a video game coming out soon, and in mobile. He said he’s working to partner with carriers on his new single, conveniently called “Kiss Me Thru the Phone.” In addition, during the song, he provides—in his words “drops”—a phone number where fans can call him. Soulja Boy said he works with SayNow, which provides phone numbers in each country, where people can call and listen to different messages he’s recorded. “I have 1 million subscribers right now, and I have had over 30 million calls from around the world. It’s in China, Italy—it’s all over the world….What that does is we have a way to capitalize revenue on that. Album sales are on the decline right now.”