Companies offering digital music downloads have long had a problem with getting revenue from their core market – as many music buyers are under 18, they won’t have a credit card. However, a quick glance at the top deck of any bus, or inside a chip shop, will clearly demonstrate that most of them have mobile phones.
On Demand Distribution (OD2) the company that supplies the music service behind sites like Virgin and Freeserve, has come up with a scheme that will allow purchasers to charge the cost of music downloads to their mobile phones. The system, developed by MChex and launched on March 22, is simple: purchasers send an SMS with a code to a premium number and the cost of the message is then charged to their bill.
Paul Smith, OD2’s UK marketing manager, said: “This payment option opens up our services to a much wider demographic. It will allow younger fans to control their own music spend, without having to hijack their parents’ credit card.”
Of course, this wheeze is just moving the payment stage one step further down the ladder and may cause problems for parents who pay their children’s mobile bills, if they’re not on a pay-as-you go plan.