The mobile music industry is set to nearly double worldwide in the next five years, while the ringtone industry will stay relatively flat, Juniper Research predicts in a report today.
Juniper analyst Windsor Holden projects the worldwide mobile music market to grow from $8.9 billion last year to $17.5 billion by 2012, as more people use their mobile phone as a music player.
What will lead growth? Full-track, over-the-air downloads, and subscription music services, Holden says. Also: China/Far East, which he expects to account for more than 40% of the mobile music market over the next five years.
Meanwhile, less exciting news for the ringtone industry. Holden projects it will grow from $5.5 billion last year — 62% of the broader mobile music industry — to $6.6 billion by 2012 — 38% of the industry. Which makes sense: Why buy a ringtone when you can download the whole song for a fraction of the price?
This is mostly good news for carriers like AT&T (T), Verizon Wireless (VZ-VOD), and Sprint Nextel (S), which can cash in on the growth drivers: They get revenue kickbacks for promoting subscription services, and could/already operate their own over-the-air music download stores.
But it’s also possible that growth could come from places like Apple’s (AAPL) wi-fi music store on its iPhones, which operates independently from exclusive U.S. wireless carrier AT&T.
See Also: Mobile Game Downloads: No Growth
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