SF Music Tech: Mobile fueling growth and complexity

Today at the SF MusicTech Summit, an event offering diverse perspectives and networking opportunities for hundreds of progressive minds pointed at the technology and business of music, Rob Pegoraro, a writer for the Washington Post, ran a session about the intersection of mobility and music.

I'm blogging today from the SF MusicTech Summit, an event offering diverse perspectives and networking opportunities for hundreds of progressive minds pointed at the technology and business of music.

Rob Pegoraro, a writer for the Washington Post, ran a session about the intersection of mobility and music. The panelists included:

In a standing room only conference room on the lower level of the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco, Pegoraro first asked the group: What do people want in a mobile music app today?

Shane Tobin -- People have bursts of short periods of time throughout the day where they want to hear something specific instantly. We are a the tip of the iceberg for recommendation and personalization. More can be done that's based on your habits. Mobile is today where the Web was 10 years ago.

Reno Marioni-- We're going to start seeing a lot of companies integrate into Twitter and Facebook. It's [music] an extension of a social object.  Also, keep in mind that the US doesn't represent the world.  On a global scale, the iPhone is for the high end. We support 22 devices that can handle music.

Warren Wan -- A streaming music app is a viable thing now. You could not say that a few years ago.

How far can we take features? What is next?

Kathleen McMahon -- Users, when firing up their iPods on the phone for instance, want more than just to hear the audio, they want additional contextual information, such as lyrics. The key is to make it delightful and relevant.

Reno Marioni-- Devices will use background info to trigger certain events or actions. They'll analyze your background and be able to intelligently alert you.  We'll build this place-graph and tether it to cloud-based services. Devices have a lot of sensory information and that adds to the context.  We look to startups to do it and we 'll build the platform for them.

Who do you trust to make the recommendation? Facebook? Who do we want to do that?

Shane Tobin -- There are many options and that is the great thing. Right now is a great time to be in that space. There will be many recommendation engines.

Compared to the rest of the world is the US a better or worse market for carriers?

Arvind Venkateswaran -- Indonesia will be the 4th largest market; they made it cheap and easy. For users there, a mobile device is how they get to the Internet for the first time. In the Philippines it is more restrictive, and they are a lot into SMS. In India, meanwhile, the market is more price sensitive. Over 90% of mobile phones are on prepaid plans.

We hear a lot about apps, what about websites and sites that feel like apps?

Shane Tobin - There have to be subscriptions. it all wont be free. The question is where is the key place to charge: on the phone; the computer; a set-top box?

Reno Marioni -- There's an ecosystem of types of apps.  We're using HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript and we're also open to FLASH.

Warren Wen -- We' re going to make sure you can get your service regardless of platform.

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