Mobile music to beat online by 2010

Research group IDC predicts that with prices for wireless-over-the-air music downloads dropping, more people will consume music over the air than the Internet by 2010.

Good news for mobile operators' coffers--analysts are predicting that consumption of music over mobiles is soon to outstrip that of desktop-bound services which dominate today.

According to research from IDC, the United States alone will see 50 million users generating more than US$1 billion by 2010, by which time 60 percent of all handsets in the country will have music playing functionality.

Interestingly, the analysts predict the main user group won't be the traditionally tech-hungry youth but rather 25 to 44-year-olds who may be new to digital music.

Currently mobile music users number around half the total of PC music service users but IDC believes the phone-music fans could outnumber their desktop counterparts before the end of the decade.

While prices for wireless over-the-air downloads typically cost up to three times more than those bought over fixed lines, IDC predicts pricing for single track downloads bought on mobiles will settle at around US$2--twice the price of a song on iTunes.

A separate report from research company Informa Telecoms & Media predicts that all forms of mobile music, including ringtones and track downloads, will be worth US$13 billion by 2010.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.

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