Mobile music is the future, says Warner boss Bronfman

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The Independent Online

Edgar Bronfman Jr, the chairman and chief executive of Warner Music, told delegates at the 3GSM mobile phone conference that the mobile can become the music industry's biggest sales channel if the experience of buying music through a mobile device is improved.

Mr Bronfman said: "Wireless companies will become the most important distributors of music content. The mobile platform represents by far and away the biggest opportunity for entertainment generally and music specifically."

He said that about $9bn was spent buying music products, including full songs, ringtones and videos, via mobile phones in 2006. He described predictions that the number will blossom to $32bn by 2010 as realistic but only if buying music via a mobile phone is made easier and the product improves substantially to create "a constant flow of product from an artist" rather than just an album release every two years.

Mr Bronfman said that despite a poor user experience - when it can take up to 20 clicks to buy a song - the mobile music industry has done remarkably well thanks to "the customer's voracious and ever increasing demand for music and video products". Nevertheless, he said that what had been achieved thus far was "only the tip of the iceberg" as only 8.5 per cent of people that have music-enabled phones have used the device to buy music.

Mr Bronfman said it was fitting that the conference was held in Barcelona because the city's wandering troubadours who roamed the world 500 years ago were the first to bring mobile music to the world. "Now we are the troubadours of the tech age," he said.

Music delivered via a mobile phone is set to become one of this year's biggest talking points with the impending launch of Apple's iPhone.