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Samsung To Enter Online-Music Business

Posted by iNext - 2005-11-02

Samsung Electronics will be trying to capture a slice of the quickly growing online music market, according to the company's chief of digital media business.
In comments made to South Korean news sources, Choi Gee-sung said that Samsung will be creating a service similar to Apple Computer's  iTunes.

Although Samsung has not released details on pricing or launch dates, Choi noted that the company has signed several partners already, both in Asia and other countries.

Samsung already has dabbled, with positive results, in the MP3 player market. The company has doubled its total players sold over last year, forecasting that it will sell some 3.7 million players this year.

Choi remarked that he felt the Samsung players were superior to Apple's, but that they were not as popular because they are not tied into a service like iTunes.

Market Forces

Due to improvements in digital-rights management and antipiracy-enforcement actions by organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the legal market for music downls is booming, making Samsung's move unsurprising to analysts.

The success of Apple, in particular, with its iPod players and iTunes service is driving other technology companies at least to consider entering the market, said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky.

"When there's success and growing popularity in any arena, it's going to create competitors," said Kusnetzky. "Apple is good at serving its niche markets, even for music, but they can't serve them all. So other companies are seeing an opportunity."

Continental Divide

Although the iPod and iTunes have a presence in Asia, especially with the company's consumer retail stores in Japan, Apple has yet to make a significant enough impact in the continent to be considered a frontrunner, analysts have noted.

Choi pointed out that Samsung's market share is bigger than Apple's in Asian countries, and that iTunes is only offered in Japan.

By offering a music-download service in that part of the world, particularly in China and Korea, Samsung could gain a notable competitive edge over Apple, Choi added.

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