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Implications Of Android App Downloads Surpassing iOS For The Music Biz

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It has been reported earlier today that the Google Android platform accounted for 44 percent of all App downloads in the second quarter of this year, surpassing Apple’s iOS with a 31 percent share. In Australia shipments of Android phones witnessed a 36 percent jump from the previous quarter. So, what is the relevance to the music industry you ask?

Firstly, Android already surpassed iOS as the dominant mobile OS on a global basis earlier this year. Apple had a massive head start in terms of application downloads and for Android to surpass iOS in a year is amazing but very welcome in TMV’s view. Now take this into account when considering the fact Google is soon to be launching its al-la-carte digital music download store in a matter of weeks…

Secondly, yes iTunes have been the global monopoly player for eight or so years in terms of digital music download sales. Yet the iPhone was the dominant smart phone for a period of two and a half years, until Android went from a 3 percent global footprint in under two years to possess a market share of more than 53% earlier this year. In anyone’s book that is a mind-blowing upwards growth rate, whilst at the same time the iPhone has actually lost market share. Correlate this to stagnating iTunes al-la-carte sales and TMV believe the time is ripe for a TRUE competitor to take on iTunes.

What will the impact be on the music business? In TMV’s view it could herald a new beginning for the music business in terms of REAL digital music retail competition for the first time since 2003.

The monopoly of iTunes drove the record labels to become even more dependent on iTunes like a cigarette addict to their smokes. It was a cycle that strengthened Apple and weakened labels. This weakness led to the stifling of true digital music retail innovation, via the fact that labels under pressure from Apple refused to provide potential competitors with a level playing field.

This new Android mobile app milestone, will in our humble opinion mean that Google’s music service will deliver a situation where Apple’s monopoly on digital music will be smashed. Spotify, had already chipped away at this and from numerous inside sources, TMV know that Steve Jobs was very scared of Spotify and its implications for iTunes.

TMV are all for iTunes as a viable digital music retail proposition, we are just against monopolies of any form and in any industry. It is likely that we will see Google’s music service with an above 35 percent al-la-carte digital music sales market share within a three-year timeframe. We would also envisage Apple hovering around the 40 – 45 percent market share mark in this same period.

The unknown is what impact will Amazon have when provided with equal terms to Apple? The optimum situation for artists, consumers and rights holders would be for Apple, Google and Amazon to be fighting on equal terms. This would ensure a truly competitive digital music retail market. If we are discussing streaming and locker services it will be interesting to see who comes out ahead as Spotify has been the leader of the music streaming pack…

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