The iPod and iTunes will see competition from wireless network providers, according to the CEO of Warner Music Group.

Speaking at the UBS Media Week Conference, Warner's Edgar Bronfman suggested that operators such as Vodafone would soon become the major distributors of music to MP3 enabled mobile phones via third-generation networks, reports The Street.

"Those network operators have advantages such as a secure, piracy-resistant network and distribution base of phone-carrying customers much larger than the 5.7 million iPod portable music players that Apple has sold," said Bronfman.

Bronfman also predicted that revenue derived from digital distribution of music would rise to 25-27 per cent by 2008, from 2 per cent currently.

Bad Apple

It is unlikely that the recording industry will come up with an interoperable music format soon though. Bronfman laid part of the blame on his own industry, but most of it on Apple and CEO Steve Jobs.

He said: "Convincing Steve Jobs of anything other that what he believes is a Herculean task for anyone. I know it has been for me. He does not want interoperability. But I think interoperability will come, and I think consumers will demand it."

Bronfman drew comparisons with the music industry now, and the movie business of the 1980s. He explained that the 1980s saw the value of filmed content increased because distribution outlets for video expanded from cinemas and television to cable and video cassettes.

"The music industry sits at the beginning of that odyssey," Bronfman said.