Tune counters at Juniper Research reckon that the number of mobile users who pay a monthly subscription for access to music catalogues, either via download or streaming, will reach 178 million by 2015, more than three times the number doing so in 2010.
Author of the paper, Mobile music hits the right note Daniel Ashdown reckons developing markets such as China and India will be ripe for streaming music services, despite a rampant market in pirated music and films. Indeed, studies suggest that those that can afford to pay for music do so, and if you can afford a smartphone in China or India, you're one of the lucky ones
"While streaming is the buzz word in developed markets, we should not forget that it is in markets where a combination of a large population, rising mobile subscriber penetration, and developing economies that represent a golden opportunity for mobile music services," Ashdown writes. "Subscription models offer affordable access to large catalogues of music, and a regular income for mobile operators such as China Mobile and Bharti Airtel."
A report yesterday suggested that music-streaming service Spotify was significantly boosted when it became available on mobile devices.
Ashdown also reckons the ringtone market will continue to decline, as users of mobile devices are finding that web-based services and on-device apps can enable them to create their own. Phone makers have also been cramming their devices with ringtones, causing angst amongst the expensive services that made a killing in the early days.
The report also suggest that the market for mobile music videos will grow steadily over the forecast period while mobile music, in general, will grow strongly - reaching $5.5 billion in 2015.