Cloud-based mobile music rising in popularity

The music industry entered a new era when listeners became more interested in digital music downloads instead of buying CDs, and is now undergoing a new shift as some listeners seek streaming music.

Online radio service Pandora offers streaming music through its own custom interface, and offers widgets so music listeners can purchase songs they like.  The service has found its way from PCs to mobile phones.   Rhapsody offers a digital music catalog for $10 per month that lets users select artists and albums, and then play songs from them.

It’s good to see some innovators finally paying attention to what consumers want, as the listeners should have a say in how music is offered.  BlackBerry owners currently can use Thumbplay for $10 per month, with a Google Android version currently in development.

The MOG All Access Mobile service was announced last month for Apple iPhone and Android owners, giving them yet another option for streaming music.  Additional services are expected to launch as wireless providers continue to promote smartphones and data plans.

The total number of streaming music listeners is expected to balloon from 2.1 million up to 5 million over the next four years.  There are still several disadvantages to streaming music services, including the lack of interest by some consumers to sign a contract for music access.  Another problem is that casual music listeners likely don’t have an interest in paying for a service if they don’t already spend money on digital music.