Earlier this month, ABI Research predicted that cloud music to boom in the next five years, reaching a subscriber of 161 million by 2016. They believed that smartphone penetration, a lowering in price, and an emerging Asia-Pacific market would give services like Spotify and Rhapsody a boost. Now, Juniper Research is saying similar things; they suspect that subscribers will reach 178 million by 2015, due to an increased 3G Access, i.e. smartphone penetration in China and India, also known as the emerging Asia-Pacific market.
According to the study's author Daniel Ashdown, "markets where a combination of a large population, rising mobile subscriber penetration, and developing economies that represent a golden opportunity for mobile music services." By 2015, Ashdown believes that mobile music will become a $5.5 billion industry.
As Hypebot has said before, increased mobile access and a lowering of price does not guarantee a boom, and even if it does occur, its sustainability depends on elements – like the balance of effortlessness and investment and increased awareness of cloud-based services – that haven't even been figured out yet.
There's no signs that the record industry can handle a boom of this magnitude either, because it could topple their iceberg and erode profitability before they're ready to watch CDs and digital downloads decline. Musicans also lose, if not prepared. The fact is that convenience devalues culture and access impedes ownership. Spotify and Rhapsody are only great for artists and the industry if done correctly, yet consumers will have music streams their way regardless.
Subscribers – 178 million by 2015
Emerging Markets – China and India
3G Access Boom
Subscribers – 161 million by 2016
Emerging Markets – Asia-Pacific
3G Access Boom