So in the last year we've seen a lot of big businesses and well-funded startups launch mobile music services. Mobile is the next big frontier for music - everyone carries a mobile all the time, the new phones all have loads of storage and the ringtone boom showed that there's a massive opportunity when you get the product right.
A couple of years ago, Nokia acquired Loudeye, one of the big digital music aggregators, and has just announced its Nokia Music Store service which its embedding in its handsets and selling to operators. A startup called Omnifone has launched a subscription mobile music service earlier this year called Music Station which it's selling through operators like Vodafone. Finally, the Lord of the Ringtones Jamba is now offering full track music on a similar subscription model to their ringer business.
Thing is they are all offering the same thing really a catalogue of music tracks which you can download to your phone - Woop-de-doo. If you look at the way people are actually using their mobiles for music then its clear there's so much more you can do with mobile music than this. People, especially young people, are using their phones to play music out loud when they are out and about like a call-sign or mobile beatbox, bluetoothing tracks to each other, making DIY ringtones out of mp3s and recording raps and MCing into their mobiles and all sorts of stuff that has NOTHING TO DO with paying money to download a track to their phone.
There are already some players out there doing some interesting stuff like Mozes which provides a kind of mobile fan club for big music acts, myxertones which provides a platform for Indie music artists, and mjelly which is a ringtones 2.0 kind of thing for free mp3 ringtones and music clips.
There's a lot of interesting opportunities in mobile music, but it's not going to come from the mainstream, watch this space.