Mobile Music Grows along with Music Phone Adoption

February 15, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Media & Entertainment

Nearly 11% of mobile subscribers in the US and Western Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK) listen to music on their mobile device, with the proportion of listeners ranging from 5.7% (in the US) to 20% (in Spain), according to an M:Metrics survey.


A music phone is a handset that is either a smartphone or is capable of digital music playback (AAC, MP3, MPEG-2 AAC, MPEG-4 AAC+ or WMA codecs) and storage (at least 47MB or memory-expansion support).

Music sources

The primary source of mobile music consumption is transfer from PC – i.e., among 83% of active listeners.


In 4 of the 6 countries surveyed, more mobile music consumers listened to music that was shared (for example, between phones via Bluetooth) than was downloaded directly to the phone using a music service.

In the case of the US and Spain, the reverse was true.

Music Phone Penetration

Music phone penetration grew 50.7% from Nov. 2006 to Nov. 2007 across the six geographies in the study. The United States was the fastest-growing market, with a 63.6% growth rate in that period – from 23.2 million music phone users to 63.8 million.

“The proliferation of music phones is causing a shift in digital music toward the mobile platform, which opens numerous opportunities for music-related content, services, hardware and accessories built to accommodate or enhance these mobile music activities,” said Jen Wu, an analyst at M:Metrics.

“Mobile music is quickly catching on, and the fact that consumers are sharing music demonstrates its potential as a social, viral phenomenon centered on mobile handsets.”

Other Content Consumption and App Use

Besides listening to music, mobile users in the US said they received SMS ads (20.6% of mobile subscribers), sent/received photos or video (20.5%), accessed news/information via web browser (12.6%) and used email (11.6%).


In terms of the number of users, 45.2 million mobile users out of 219 million in the US said they received SMS ads, and 44.8 million said they sent or received photos or videos.


About the data: Each month, M:Metrics collects specific device model and carrier subscription information from a sampling of mobile phone subscribers, including details related to current and past usage of various mobile phone applications and content. The data collected from each sample are then statistically balanced and projected to the total national population of mobile phone subscribers.


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