It might be a great mobile app to you. But to some professionals, it’s drip for the syringe.
Because our addiction to smartphones and mobile devices now has a name, and dedicated specialists attempting to deal with the problem. That includes the well-known Morningside Recovery Center, a California-based clinic that normally deals with problems involving addictive substances like alchohol and drugs.
Perhaps it sounds silly, until you gauge your own level of mobile attachment and dependency. Right now, the problem is being called ‘Nomophobia,’ short for ‘no mobile phobia,’ and it describes the fear of being without a smartphone or mobile device, or even adequate coverage. This describes the panic when a phone is lost, its battery drained, or coverage drops. Or, the complete absorption and addiction to anything and everything happening on a smartphone deck, often at the risk of personal safety or even functionality.
“For a growing number of people, staying connected has become an obsession that occupies every waking minute – and for them, an utter fear and anxiety runs through their veins when they lose their cell, run out of battery, have no network coverage, or simply imagine living life without a mobile device.”
The big question is what this all means for emerging music technologies and services. Right now, smartphones are a bridge towards total music ubiquity, and a potentially exciting solution for in-car entertainment. And if phones are addicting, that sounds like a great place to place a toll. Spotify, for example, makes mobile access a premium privilege, and there are even rumors that a new, mobile-focused access tier is being developed.
The picture gets even better when charges are smartly bundled. That’s one way Spotify can win, though players like Muve Music are already deeply embedding their models into broader access charges.
The rest seems incredibly unpredictable, especially given the potent mix of technology and addictive attention involved. Addicts aren’t rationale, and neither is the psychology that ultimately emerges around mobile and smartphone access. One massive risk is that as the smartphone continues to rival or even eclipse the PC, it also inherits all sorts of entitlement baggage. On the PC, consumers are mostly willing to pay for access through their ISPs, but are often fiercely resistant to any additional premiums.
That makes Spotify’s subscriber tallies all the more impressive, though we’ve already heard some consumers balking at the prospect of paying for mobile access privileges.