Mobile Music, Video Poised For Growth, Study Shows

Wireless music downloads are becoming more popular among young people, who have traditionally stayed away from those services, according to a study from Ipsos Insight.
Wireless music downloads are gaining marketplace acceptance, with download rates increasing significantly year-over-year, according to a recent study.

Ipsos Insight, a global market research group, revealed findings Wednesday from its quarterly digital music-tracking program, which polled people in June, July and August of 2006. "TEMPO: Keeping Pace with Digital Music Behavior" shows U.S. music consumers are increasingly experimenting with mobile music and video while the services remain in their infancy.

Four percent of American mobile phone owners 12 years old and up downloaded complete songs over the air in the 30 days before the summer survey, according to Ipsos Insight. Men are twice as likely (6 percent) as women (3 percent) to have ever downloaded complete songs using a mobile device, while 11 percent of teens and 8 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 have done so, the report states. Seven percent of people between the ages of 25 and 34 have downloaded songs wirelessly, according to Ipsos Insight's survey of more than 1,000 people.

"This is encouraging as [young people] have traditionally shied away from fee-based digital music behaviors, and thus mobile acquisition may represent a key opportunity for bringing these music enthusiasts back into the realm of the legitimate digital music marketplace," Matt Kleinschmit, vice president for Ipsos Insight and author of the study, said.

Seventy-one percent of Americans who own mobile phones know they could have phones that allow them to play entire songs. Fourteen percent of American mobile phone owners have full song download and playback capability, according to the report. Among mobile phone owners who have downloaded digital music to their computers, the number of people with mobile music phones rises to one-third, Ipsos Insight reported.

On average, people who download music to their mobile phones have about six tracks stored on the devices, which is similar to ringtone trends, according to Ipsos Insight. The average person downloading music to their cell phones spent about $7 on the music in the previous month, Ipsos Insight said. Among mobile phone owners, 27 percent have downloaded ringtones and nine percent had done so in the 30 days before the survey, according to the Ipsos Insight.

As YouTube and Verizon Wireless announce a partnership to provide mobile video services, Ipsos Insight reports that 3 percent of American mobile phone owners have downloaded music videos to their mobile phones and 2 percent have downloaded short video clips.

Eighteen to 24-year-olds are most likely to have downloaded music videos (9 percent), while young people and men are more likely to have done so than older mobile phone users and women, according to the report.

Kleinschmit said mobile music and video downloading are poised for growth.

"In both cases the key components of the consumer experience are impulse consumption and instant gratification," he said. "With music, over-the-air downloading is yet another digital innovation that will work to counter-balance losses created by shifts in consumer purchasing due to the ability to acquire music 'song-by-song' rather than via a traditional album purchase. With video, the possibilities for on-the-go access to important or entertaining content and user-generated recordings are just emerging and truly intriguing."

He said both provide "vast new opportunities" for cashing in on impulsive consumption of multimedia content through wireless carrier billing.