TECHNOLOGY
Record Labels, Telecomms, Internet

In The City conference keynote speaker Ralph Simon is a music industry veteran and famously the man who founded Zomba and sold it at the right time! He is still involved in the music industry and gave the speech to introduce delegates to the wonders of ‘mobilised A&R’ and asked the question ‘R U Connected’. Ralph pointed out that labels in particular shouldn’t be asking the question ‘should we mobilise’ but that they just should mobilise – from the song upwards through artists to singles and albums. Ralph pointed out that even they way music is traditionally sold – CD albums and singles – will change – perhaps to ‘clusters’ of songs released by an act every 3 to 4 months. The mobile industry itself is worth some $548 billion annually (Deloitte & Touche) with 2.4 billion users worldwide. The UK has a 84% use (almost one phone per person) and even China, a developing country with 1.24 billion people now has a 27% penetration. Ralph’s short term vision is that mobiles will become mobile social computers, adopted primarily by the 14 – 28 year old demograph. They will provide television programmes, radio (although most already do), online ‘print’ eg mobile magazines, the internet and email, music content and recordings including special content and facilities and publicity for events including mobile ticketing. Ralph used the new Nokia N91 as an example (the ‘iPod killer’ !!) which can store 3000 recordings and 2 hours of TV and video. Mobiles will provide new tools for marketing and new tools for making money. ACDC sold over 2 million ringtones from an archive track! Users in the US can now get the Billboard charts immediately sent to their phones and can download directly onto the phone. The mobile is personalised, they connect peer groups, they can form communities, that allow immediacy, allow impulses to be realised, promote loyalty and are interactive. And involve lawyers in a whole new area of discrete rights!