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Music 4.5 – The Music In-App Economy

Mobile was at the heart of the Music 4.5 In-App Economy conference, which was held at the Lewis Silkin offices in central London on Wednesday the 19th of February.

The first speaker Marcus Taylor, Founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Venture Harbour set the tone for the day, explaining that mobile is not just growing, it’s already a huge part of the industry. Currently 55 percent of the traffic to his client’s websites is coming from mobile devices. According to Taylor mobile campaigns are already outperforming desktop campaigns.

Music consumption is also growing on mobile. But is the music industry reacting to change fast enough? According to Taylor the software companies and app developers are currently the link connecting consumers and music producers.

But apps aren’t the be-all and end-all. Around 25 million people search for music on Google every month and 25 percent of that traffic is coming from mobile devices. Who is targeting those people, asked Taylor.

He continued suggesting the industry can be more clever in the way apps are monetised. You only need to take a look at the games industry to realise there are more ways of monetising an app than asking people to pay for it.

Another speaker passionate about mobile was Thibault Rouffineau, COO of Apptual. He used to work as an evangelist or Symbian and is now evangelising about the power of the API.

Currently there are around 243 APIs in the music space, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those APIs are bringing their creators any income.

– The whole world is trying to figure out how to make money from APIs, explains Rouffineau.

He has a few suggestions on how to do it. One option is to give away an API for free, which might lead to exposure. Other options are for the API to be the product, the project to be the product or for the API to promote a product, like Amazon, or finally for the API to power and feed the product, like Twitter.

He left the audience with a final question – what the music and tech industry want is to sell music with an expensive price tag. Apps and APIs could help you do that, but how?

Speaker Will Mills, VP of Music & Content at Shazam, represents a company who has managed to monetise music successfully. The company has around 420 million users worldwide and sells digital goods for around $300 million per year in 200 countries.

His advice to the audience was that sharing is a key part for Shazam and that 80 percent of mobile time is spent in apps.

Speaker Stephen O’Reilly, CMO of radio tastemaker app ShufflerFM, talked about the importance of good data and analytics and how apps can help drive physical sales.

One speaker who challenged the status quo of the app industry was Rory Mudie of Redbox Mobile. He stated that a problem for apps is that they’re stuck in these things called app stores.

– Flappy Bird did something right. If you take the app down from the app store it starts selling amazingly well.