Music Industry Starting to Feel Chirpy with Cricket Wireless
The hope of the beleaguered music industry may be lying within the confines of a small corner store located in the City Heights section of San Diego.
In an area crowded by Mexican, Somalian and Vietnamese restaurants, 40-year-old unemployed laboratory technician Larry Woelfel waited with a number of customers to purchase cellular phones and service from San Diego company Cricket Wireless.
By also subscribing to the digital music service of Cricket called MuveMusic, Woelfel demonstrates that its emergence may be one of the best hopes of the music industry for getting access to a huge underserved audience.
Wrecked by piracy, decreased CD sales, as well as the proliferation free and legal alternatives like YouTube, sales of the music industry, according to Enders Analysis, fell from a high of $29.4 billion to $17.3 billion last year. At present, record companies are in a mad scramble to find fresh sources of revenue.
Woelfel and many other Cricket customers who shell out as low as $45 a month for unlimited text, data and talk are putting down $10 more for unlimited music.
While the music industry’s share of that monthly charge is minimal, over 500,000 people have subscribed to Muve since it was launched in May, placing the service among the three biggest on-demand digital music services in the nation today. At the top spot, with a million paying customers, is Rhapsody, with Muve and Spotify in a neck and neck battle for the second place.
What makes Cricket really attractive is that its customers are from a section of society largely ignored by companies that sell state-of-the-art technology and digital media. Over fifty percent of Muve’s subscribers are Latino or African American and earn under $50,000 annually. Only around 35% own laptops. Cellular phones are the center of their digital lives.