An excerpt from this week's "2008 Top Mobile Executives" feature in Billboard:
Billboard’s Power Players series focuses on the top 10 mobile executives on the front lines, the ones developing artist-specific mobile promotions and negotiating the innovative deals that may serve as templates for others in the near future. While those setting the strategy are certainly an important force in this effort, those getting their hands dirty on the nitty-gritty details and implementing those strategies deserve some recognition as well. And with that, the list here represents the 10 movers and shakers in the mobile music field who caught our eye this year – hailing from the major labels to the wireless operators and beyond.
Are Traasdahl CEO, Thumbplay Off-deck mobile content sales are a growing business, referring to ringtones and other content that mobile users can buy outside of their carrier's official portal. A recent Informa study predicts that off-deck mobile content sales in the U.S. will surpass that of carrier-based services by the end of the year. Leading the way in this emerging market is Thumbplay, which moves more off-deck ringtone sales than any other direct-to-consumer offering. At the helm is Are Traasdahl, who has aggressively pushed for big marketing deals that get the Thumbplay brand in front of more and more music fans. The service is the exclusive ringtone sales provider for AOL, iLike, Clear Channel Radio and many others. An Internet search on most any artist will find links to buying ringtones from Thumbplay. Most recently, Thumbplay became the official provider of a revamped MTV mobile site. Up next: full-song downloads. The company is expected to introduce a service that lets fans buy full songs over the air from any mobile phone in the near future, which could give those run by mobile operators a real competitive challenge.