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Breakthroughs that will re-shape the market of MP3

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Global Portable Music Industry Trends


Record company revenue from digital music rose 8% in 2011 to exceed $5 billion, reports IFPI. Market growth the previous year was around 5%, representing the first year-on-year increase in six years. The number of paid users of digital music is expected to grow at a yearly rate of 17%, reaching almost 1.6 billion in 2014, reports IE Market Research.


Users of digital music can take advantage of several digital channels to access music, including downloading online or though mobile devices and subscribing to online download portals. It is expected that the 500 million consumers downloading music through mobile headsets in 2009 will double to exceed 1 billion in 2013. Subscriptions to online and mobile music channels will represent the fastest growth in the worldwide digital music market, with online subscription users outpacing growth in the larger mobile channel segment. 


One major obstacle to market growth in the digital music industry is piracy. To tackle the problem, various industry players will need to pool their efforts, with advertisers, search engines, mobile service providers and internet service providers all working together to limit revenue loss caused by piracy.


Key Segments


Mobile platform music and digital distribution has grown for mobile handsets, reports Visiongain. Mobile music has seen its consumer base expand, fuelled by digital distribution through iTunes, to reach a growing number of iPhone owners and mobile handsets.


Mobile phones and the mobile web continue to drive digital distribution of mobile content, catering to specific demand of various consumer groups. The mobile phone is likely to replace the MP3 player in terms of mobile music due to wireless headphone development and handsets offering MP3 functionality for the most part.


MP3 players are witnessing a decline worldwide as mobile phones encroach on their market, offering superior services such as FM radio, extra memory for song storage and radio recorders, reports Euromonitor International.


The world flash memory card industry is expected to record slowed yearly growth of -5.6% between 2011 and 2015, according to research from TechNavio. Market growth will be fuelled by growing demand for smartphone storage devices, which are equipped to take photographs, and play videos and music. Portable devices with large in-built memory may represent an obstacle to market growth in this segment.



Industry Leaders


The number of paid subscriptions to digital music suppliers such as Deezer and Spotify rose from 8 million to exceed 13 million in 2011, according to music recording industry association IFPI. Music downloading has been fuelled by cloud-based services including iTunes Match, which ventured into almost 30 new markets in 2011, bringing its global presence to 50 countries. In the same year, download service 7digital opened stores in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, bringing its global presence to more than 35 countries.


Subscription services such as Deezer, WiMP and Spotify are recording strong growth worldwide, with Spotify venturing into four EU markets and the US to reach a dozen countries. Muve Music also ventured into the US market in 2011, while Deezer teamed up with Orange for a UK launch. Deezer also has plans to launch in other countries in 2012.



Market Outlook


The global portable music industry players continue to expand worldwide, launching in various new markets to capture an ever-expanding share of the digital music market. IFPI points to the fact that digital channels are outpacing physical formats in the US. Music represents a huge segment within the digital economy, though the future growth of this market segment will be dependent on the ability of industry players and governments to implement effective legislative measures to limit piracy.



Leading Industry Associations




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