New IDC research claims the U.S. wireless full-track downloads market will attract more than 50 million customers and subscribers and be worth $1.2 billion by 2009.
If true, that's good news for mobile telecommunications companies, who hope to add music downloads to their product range.
"IDC believes that online and wireless music services may represent the music industry's best long-term prospects for reversing decline and promoting growth, and that these new services will ultimately be the future of recorded music distribution," said Susan Kevorkian, IDC senior research analyst, consumer markets.
The analysts note that wireless full-track download services have yet to launch in the United States, stymied by the lack of available handsets and 3G networks, the complexity of digital rights management, competition from incumbent services, and business pricing models and practices.
IDC observes an opportunity for such services to offer bundled services, such as ring tones, videos, and artist-specific information alerts.
IDC's assessment emerges as speculation continues to grow that claims Apple may launch its own virtual mobile network, and as the company prepares to launch its "iTunes phone" next month.
This story, "Is the Future of Music Mobile?" was originally published by Macworld.