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Will Filipinos buy music online?

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Apple has been selling billions of songs online for over two years now thru iTunes. Yet, it has not been able to widen its market in a Asia Pacific region mainly because of high risk of copyright issues and prevalence of peer-to-peer sharing. I was actually curious before on how it works especially when downloadable videos came out but never got to try it because of the restrictions.

So, I was surprised that where iTunes failed to reach, Mobiuslive will take the risk and make the jump. The site was first reported over at PTB by Mike, while Luis confirmed he’s the one behind the development of the site and Inq7.net did a short story just a while ago. There’s actually no contest here since Apple does not want to make a presence here in the Philippines and the rest of greater Asia for that matter. The real competition here is between Mobiuslive and Fliptunes (by Mozcom).

Realme Philippines

So, we go back to the question: Will Filipinos buy music online? It’s a question I cannot categorically answer but considering our fondness for anything free, I doubt a significant number will get used to buying their music online. Let me throw in some scenarios:

  • Filipinos who do buy CD albums buy them not only because they love the music. They want to own a piece of it. Consider the CD a trophy. If you buy an MP3 copy online, there’s no trophy to be proud of that you can display in your CD rack in your room or in your car with the 12-disk CD changer.
  • Buying online might seem more convenient because you don’t have to physically go out and buy the CD. But wait, with the pre-paid card model (as against credit card), you do have to personally go out and buy credits. It now boils down to which of the two have a wider distribution arm.
  • Cross-over buyers could hurt album sales. Remember that the target market are those who buy the albums. You can’t convert those who are already hooked up with the free P2P so you could end up getting less sales from the CD albums because buyers can just get the 1 or 2 songs they really like and not buy the CD instead. Not good if the band/artist is rooting for a platinum or double-platinum record.
  • Since Mobiuslive allows for sharing downloaded songs with friends, it might tickle the “me too” mentality and you could end up with 1 buyer and 100 downloaders. I call it the “Wendy’s Salad Bar Phenomenon”.
  • There are torrents, MP3 IRC channels, Limewire, Kazaa and a host of others peer-to-peer networks. Mobiuslive is selling them at Php20 each. Hmmm… Twenty pesos? Free? Twenty pesos? Free?

Despite these possibilites, I have to give props to Mobius and Fliptunes for taking the risk. It’s just business after all.

Okay, I should stop here lest people would ask me where I got all those mp3s in my iPod.

Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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dea
dea
10 years ago

it’s not cheaper and it’s not free! those are pirated or NAKAW. We must not blame our financial status on the things that we will do or our principles. Ang pagnanakaw ng maliit ay katulad lang ng magnakaw ng malaki.. Ipaparinig or ipapanood mo ba sa anak mo ang nakaw at tuturuan mo din ba silang magnakaw online? Hindi ka man mahuli ng gobyerno pero nakikita ka ng Panginoon habang nagnanakaw ka.

Joe
Joe
14 years ago

@rnoldz

If putting food on your table is a person’s priority especially due to economic status then buying unnecessary luxuries like music should probably the last thing on their mind.

But then again Pinoys are known to waste money buying expensive mobile phone despite of their current financial status.

Flipside
Flipside
14 years ago

I have been a huge Audible.com customers for 3 years already and purchased more then a hundred audio books from their site. Its been a huge boom for me because it is easy to access and more importantly it accepts Philippines based credit card unlike the other more popular download services like Apple’s itunes.

luis
15 years ago

well, there’s definitely a challenge involved in “converting” people who get their music almost exclusively from P2P. one of the reasons why we felt that the social-network approach was the way to go was specifically to combat that though. it’s one thing to pull MP3s down from a nameless torrent tracker, it’s another thing entirely to steal it directly from an artist whose blog you read everyday on mobiuslive.net. we believe that in a social environment where fans and artists can interact in a very direct fashion, piracy will become less prevalent simply because there are real people attached to the digital identities.

ultimately, it’s unrealistic to assume that you’ll ever clamp down on piracy completely. however, we do think that providing a compelling and convenient user experience will go a long way towards making mobiuslive.net a really viable option for people who don’t necessarily enjoy the chaotic nature of P2P networks or the hit-and-miss quality of pirated CDs.

jhay
15 years ago

Fingers crossed for Mobiuslive. With piracy and P2P so prevalent in the country, I think it will be an uphill fight for them.

kzap
kzap
15 years ago

we need a mobile phone music player that integrates with such a service, so the costs are hidden and people dont notice it like how they spend so much on text

rnoldz
15 years ago

Will Filipinos buy their music online? Why would they? There’s always a cheaper source out there.

Better spend those hard earned bucks to putting food in their stomach instead.

luis
15 years ago

Hey Abe … just a quick response to some points stated here.

The price point will be PhP20.00 per track, with 55% of the revenue going *directly to the artist*. This is, I believe, the most important part of the digital-music puzzle, as very few competitors will give the artists anywhere near that much. (Even the uber-magnanimous Magnatune only gives 50%.)

Apart from really stimulating the local independent music scene, we believe that this will help encourage legal music downloads, as consumers will know that most of the money they are paying goes right to the artist, instead of having 95% of it waylaid by record labels or vendors.

In other words, you aren’t “sticking it to the man” by sharing music from MobiusLive.net, you’re literally stealing it from the artists.

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