Mobile browsing to dominate: Ipsos

Emarketer has published new statistics on mobile browsing habits, courtesy of a report by research firm Ipsos. Mobile browsing adoption appears to be exceeding conservative expectations from 2005. A key statistic: 56% of mobile phone users worldwide browsed the web last year. In Japan, a whopping 92% of users went online via their mobiles.

Exciting news.

Via Russell Beattie

More ado about China & mobile music

Here’s more information about the booming mobile music market in China. P2PNet hipped me to this, as well as to China Mobile’s mobile music portal. It’s so pretty (I love the animated bubble tea houses that squirt green bubbles into the sky!). China Unicom’s competing mobile music portal is a bit garish by comparison, but however you slice it, the whole phenomenon of China’s boom in mobile phone music is exciting. Almost as exciting as buying UK import records used to be…

I so want to learn Cantonese!

Ringtones and Mobile Society: article

There’s a thorough scholarly treatment of the ringtone in contemporary public life in the December 2005 issue of First Monday. Author Sumanth Gopinath gives us an historical account of the ringtone in the context of the rise of the wireless telephony industry, and how this development has played a role in our everyday experience. In the author’s own words:

ringtones are central to the contemporary sonic imaginary … (and have) progressed quickly in a series of stages or moments from the initial, functional ringtone to the tone as a digital sound file … entire cultural practices have appeared in conjunction with particular stages and seem likely to decline, as the outdated forms of ringtones with which these practices are correlated become increasingly infrequent.

The piece synthesizes a wide range of research in its attempt to enrich our understanding of the ringtone in contemporary culture: its history, its situation within Western tonality, its role in the contestation of public and private space, and its comparison with older mobile music technologies such as the Sony Walkman and the boombox.

Towards the end of the article, Gopinath provides an insightful critique of mobile content as a commodity, and how its profitability is “revitalizing a stagnant music–industry oligopoly”. He goes on to explain that “for some companies, the ultimate aim (is) to transfer content to mobile systems, devalue the Internet in the process, then buy up those online assets and eventually transform them into for–pay services.” We are reminded by this example that

internet utopians should be wary of the sustainable independence of new media under capitalism — forms of originally independent media like cable television were understood and used in a similar way to the present Internet and ultimately found themselves under the ownership of large media conglomerates.

File this under “comments, anyone?”

China and the Global Mobile Music Industry

The growth of the mobile music market in China, by all accounts [1,2], is going to be significant over the next several years. An interesting challenge for the giants of the Anglo-American music industry, who still cannot provide an affordable mobile music download service (though there are notable exceptions to this). If Verizon, Cingular, and the others are going to be competitive in China and other huge international markets, they are going to have to push a no-brainer, one price service upon us soon. You know, like what Apple did?

My (optimistic?) guess is that the major U.S. carriers all have one price mobile mp3 download services in the pipeline, getting the final touches on branding. Bets on what colors each company will use?

…and the angels are voyeurs

There’s an interesting (& refreshingly accessible) piece in Wired about music and public space. Not only is it a good read; it’s also written by one of my favorite undersung raconteurs, Momus! His livejournal is also, well…lively, so I’m linking (music geeks and dandified whatsits please take note).

His writing on this topic (more of it here) raises lots of interesting questions:

Songs are fascist immigrants, conquistadors who’ve come, inevitably, to slay indigenous sound wherever they find it.

Yes, quite. I don’t think I could have put it better than that. But maybe it is the influence of the surrounding culture of fascism/colonialism that endows the songs of here and now with that character? In other cultural ecologies, might songs more gently enter public spaces? Is the situation different (even if only slightly) in Japan, for example?

In Noise Jacques Attali calls the industrial/electronic 20th century an age of repetition, an era in the circulation of music that bears the seeds of its own destruction. He writes that the hyper-accumulation of commercial music will eventually overextend itself, people will recoil in horror, and the whole commercial music regime will then self-destruct. In our malaise over the ubiquity of song, are we maybe witnessing a slice of that moment of change?

About Clicknoise

This weblog was started to document music, culture and network technologies in a world that’s increasingly noisy with change. From iPods to ringtones, from Cubase to AJAX, from Ableton Live to loopfaxes, and from reel-to-reel cacophony to the drone of a million clicks, silent in isolation, but deafening taken all together, this is Clicknoise. Welcome.

An “About Me” is coming soon. As I’m a bit of an unwilling crossover between indie music, academia, and the high tech industry (I wish I had nothing to do with the latter, but it pays the bills, and it can be intriguing at times in its own right), I can promise wild mood swings and possibly too many question marks.

But then again, google has replaced all the question marks in our conversations, hasn’t it?

Or would that be wikipedia?