The evolution of digital music marches on in one expected direction - video and music on mobile phones (the image to the right comes from PaidContent.org's coverage of last week's CTIA show) - and one less obvious direction - the audiophile market.
I've previously mentioned the high-end opportunity in digital music - new companies like MusicGiants (which just launched last week - congratulations!) are building a vision of value, not around the radio quality (48-96 KBPS) of XM or most podcasts, nor the near-CD quality (128 KBPS) that you get from Napster - but instead, much higher quality (a staggering 470 to 1100 KBPS) as rated by Stereophile Magazine.
This opportunity, small as it may seem right now, may be a repeat of
history. There were those that scoffed at FM radio, opining that AM was
always going to be "good enough". Likewise, vinyl and cassettes gave
way to CDs. With higher-quality audio reportedly to be available at the same price point as store pricing - and the promise of multichannel music support for all the HD and home theatre equipment by January - this could be the beginning of something unexpected.
Link: Video demo of Qualcomm's MediaFlo phone by PaidContent.org (large 17 MB file, QuickTime required)