Comes With Music and PlayNow plus have yet to launch, but analysts are already predicting big numbers for the respective unlimited mobile music services of Nokia and Sony Ericsson.Specifically, TNS Technology estimates that this category of services could result in British consumers downloading 2.1 billion tracks a year, cutting piracy but accelerating the decline of CD sales.It’s worth digging into how the market research firm came up with that figure though (a gold star if you just shouted ‘market research?’). TNS apparently asked more than 1,000 people whether they were interested in signing up to these services, and if so, how many tracks they’d download a month.More than a quarter expressed interest, and the average number of tracks they thought they’d download was 64 a month. In other words, that’s 768 songs a year per person, although apparently the figure was double for 16-24 year-olds.”If replicated across the UK, that would equal 2.1bn tracks downloaded a year,” notes The Guardian, while also reporting the survey’s findings that 45% of users would buy fewer CDs as a result of using these services, 47% would buy fewer downloads from digital stores, and 38% would “reduce” their use of illegal file-sharing sites.So, the headline 2.1 billion figure is based entirely on people who say they’d be interested in these services guessing how much they might download a month. Highly speculative, in other words, although TNS has been transparent about the methodology behind its prediction.That ‘47% of users would buy fewer digital downloads’ stat is interesting, though – it seems unlimited mobile services might cannibalise existing digital sales more than CDs.

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