This is a guest post by Marcus Taylor, founder & director of Venture Harbour.
When I logged into my analytics account this morning I was shocked to notice that since January 2013, one quarter of my web traffic had come from mobile devices. Just two years ago this would have been a measly 6-7%.
I began to wonder, how prepared is the music industry when it comes to mobile? How many music companies, brands, and artists are taking this seriously enough? After all, we’re now talking about 1 in 4 potential fans or customers coming to our website via a mobile device.
After spending some time searching around the web, expectedly, most music companies and artists seem to be far from prepared. The screenshots below are all too common. The largest bands in the World, instrument manufacturers, and music stores are a long way from offering an enjoyable mobile experience to their fans and customers.
Of course, there are exceptions. App creators Mobile Roadie, claim to power over 3,000 mobile apps, many of which are for artists, including the likes of Adele, Madonna, and Bon Jovi. But I believe these artists are the exception rather than the rule – and that’s soon to change. Big time.
According to a report from Cisco, mobile traffic is expected to grow to 26x times what is today by 2015. Tablet, e-reader and flat panel television will also continue to grow in usage, forcing brands, companies, and artists to adapt to mobile technology.
How can the music industry prepare for mobile?
The first step, in my opinion, is to make your website usable on a mobile device, which can be done in a number of ways. First let’s discuss responsive design. Responsive design means that regardless of the device viewing your website, the website will ‘fit’ on the screen. You can see an example of this approach used below.
An example of responsive design used by MusicLawContracts.com – as the browser width shrinks, all of the content is still in full view.
This is a relatively cost effective approach to adopting mobile as it doesn’t involve building a whole new website – you simply use your existing website with a few coding changes.
Another popular option is to redirect users coming from a mobile device to a dedicated version of your website that’s optimised for mobile. You can see this technique being used by visiting the Gibson or Music Job Board website from a mobile browser.
There are more hybrid solutions, such as combining the two options above. But to keep things simple, I’ll leave those for another day.
What are we waiting for?
When I think about why the music industry (and many other industries) are so unprepared for such a huge change in consumer behavior, it makes me wonder – what are we waiting for? Do we need 50% of our traffic to come from mobile for it to become a worry? Do we need to double check that this isn’t a phase?
One thing is for certain and that’s that mobile isn’t going away. The proportion of web traffic coming from ‘non-desktop’ devices is growing, and so there’s no better time than today to start thinking about going mobile.
Image Credit: Jonastana