From almost nothing five years ago, the mobile music market in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow to $9.3 billion by 2010, after reaching $3.3 billion in 2005, according to research firm In-Stat.
The breakthrough years for mobile music in Asia Pacific will be 2007 and 2008, with growth coming from markets such as China and India, the research firm said.
By 2007 and 2008, In-Stat said those two markets should have already reached a critical mass of mobile subscribers and 3G services would have already become prevalent across the region.
"Ringtones have been the primary driver for mobile music growth in the past, but this will change as new mobile phones equipped with digital music file playback capability create a new market," said Bryan Wang, In-Stat director. "As consumer preferences change, the future growth of the mobile music industry rests on ringback tones and full music tracks."
Mobile music has become a major mobile data revenue contributor in Asia Pacific. As the mobile music market in Asia/Pacific continues to develop, it looks set to become an even more important mobile data revenue driver in the next few years.
Ringtones remain a large segment of the mobile music revenue, but as Japan and South Korea mobile music users switch to true tones as their handsets become more advanced, we will see a shift of large ringtone markets to India and China instead.
True tones, ringback tones and full tracks are the future areas of growth though, and they will drive Asia-Pacific mobile music revenues to almost triple their revenue by 2010.
In-Stat's Mobile Content 2006 survey reveals that consumer interest in music on their mobile phone remains high, but there are factors that are affecting their willingness to purchase mobile music. However, factors like pricing, file format issues, and piracy are currently being tackled by mobile music industry participants. It remains to be seen if non-mobile users will change their minds about purchasing mobile music after these issues are resolved.