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Guest post: Crunchtime for mobile music

By Ashley Elsdon

Since the rise of Apple’s iOS, mobile music creation has begun an explosion, that is gaining increased acceptance in all areas of the music business. But as we start off 2012 I wonder where this phenomenon will go next. It has been described as “the mobile music revolution”, and as being “the crest of a wave”. I can understand and in many ways share those sentiments, even though at times I have my own doubts.

2011 was a very significant year for mobile music creation. Not just in terms of the sheer number of applications that developers released into a marketplace increasingly hungry for something new but more importantly in terms of the quality of innovation that emerged. I have to admit to spending 2011 in a near constant state of amazement from what developers were able to do with such tiny devices.

But even so I think that it’s important to remember that mobile music is still in its infancy. The app store and iOS (although it wasn’t always called iOS) are less than three years old, and that could be a difficult age. We’ve come to the point where mobile music needs some steering, some good sound advice and a real sense of direction. It could be very easy to head down well tried and tested routes in the music technology world, but I believe that we have a real opportunity to do something different in the mobile space, and now is a good time to start.

This is an ideal time to start tackling some of the themes that are emerging in mobile music such as the continual blur between content creation and consumption, and the commercial and legal issues that this throws up. The future that I would like to see for mobile music is it continuing to deliver the ability to truly democratise music making through accessibility and immediacy.

Ashley Elsdon is a writer and musician who has been blogging about mobile music making since 2006. He founded the Palm Sounds blog (which is now on hiatus). He will also be speaking at the next Music 4.5 event – Mobile Music – The sound of the future.