Case Study: Mobile Digital Music Distribution


Key Topics
Global Market Analysis
Rights Management
Technical Pilot



The GSM Association (GSMA) represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. A Mobile Music Initiative was established to create a simplified licensing model from rights holders to mobile operators and to establish a shared platform for music distribution.

Triad provided consultancy to the GSMA on the state of the digital music market, revenue opportunities, an analysis of the business models of other ecosystem participants and a market analysis of the Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America markets.

State of the Digital Music Market

Digital music sales were growing and predicted to surpass physical sales in a few years. We researched the popularity of online streaming services, how the four large labels address streaming services with alternative business models and the impact this has had on independent labels and artists.

We identified an opportunity to create an alternative, legal channel for music distribution in developing markets. Specifically we identified that the popular digital stores were inhibiting emerging artist take-up.

Mobile Music Store Pilot

We advised the GSMA on the criteria required to launch a successful mobile music store that covered catalogue size, pricing and key value-added services that would create competitive value. This included artist self-promotion.

Advice was provided on establishing a common technical infrastructure for the three Philippine operators, the technical provision of international music content and operator billing for music downloads.

Interfaces to an International Rights Dashboard provided content distribution control while interfaces to the network operator handled user authentication and billing integration. For mobile purchases an interface to the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) Payment API was defined.

A technical blueprint was delivered for the pilot covering traditional online access and mobile app access.

Controlling Costs

To ensure the technology pilot could scale globally we reviewed the estimates for content storage and created an alternative profile for catalogue growth over twelve months from 500 thousand tracks to 10 million and 10 terabytes of storage to 75 terabytes.

Delivery Roadmap

Triad delivered a roadmap covering what the GSMA, Mobile Network Operator, Rights Holder and Platform provider needed to achieve in the areas of billing and royalties, infrastructure, content provision and content promotion so that mobile operators remained relevant in the music distribution channel.


The research and report Triad delivered enabled the GSMA to have better conversations with music industry stakeholders and make better decisions on how to support mobile operators and compete with alternative music distribution sources.