Music futurologist David Kusek has recently suggested that mobile phones will soon become the primary means of discovery and distribution for digital music. Although he rightly points out a range of factors that would make this very plausible (for instance, mobile phones are the only handheld device on which you can discover new music) I’m unsure of the extent to which the mass market will use their phones in this way in the short term, especially because people are still turning onto the fact that a) the mobile web exists and b) there are ways you can access it without getting ‘bill shock’.
When it does achive mass popularity, it will be intriguing to see how it affects the radio industry. Kusek calls mobile music a ‘radio killer’ – presumably due to the idea that people would eschew the prescriptive content of modern radio stations in favour of getting personalised content online. I have not yet seen any numbers to confirm or deny that theory. Although one analyst’s (Dean Bubley’s) report on the mobile web would suggest that there are many factors inhibiting its growth , and therefore, its ability to ‘kill off” the radio.
The Future of New(s) has come up with another idea: namely that interactive web technologies may enable news disseminators to create new funding models in response to the increasing migration online. I like the idea, but again, I definitely think this is in its embryonic stages, so it’s way too early to know whether it’ll catch on. Would a social network that allowed people to crowdsource funding for stories create an environment in which the news was skewed in favour of those who had the most money behind their messages? Even social news behemoths like Digg haven’t totally changed the game for reporters and PRs outside of the tech industry in my opinion. And it still has the problem of people trying to manipulate its popularity results.