Fantastic article about regional Mexican music on cell phones

The New York Times just ran a great article about the enormous cell phone market for regional Mexican music.

Because fans of regional Mexican music tend to be working-class immigrants and their United States-born children, they don’t fit the typical musical consumption patterns of the digital age. They most likely don’t own a home computer, don’t use a credit card and don’t have broadband at home, all prerequisites for an iTunes account. Instead they buy prepaid phone cards with cash and use their cellphones as mobile, personal jukeboxes, often downloading ring tones from their cellular providers for about $3 each, three times the price from iTunes or Zune.

Yet another example of an unexpected use of mobile technology!

Ethical dimension of introducing new technology?

The BBC posted an article today in which the author speculated on the possible negative affects of new technologies in the developing world:

…what happens if new tools or services disrupt established community practices, as with the use of mobile phones to allow young men and women to contact each other freely in cultures that normally segregate the sexes?

On the whole, I find this short article interesting, but a little patriarchal in its assumptions. The developing world is going to react to new technology in its own ways — just as we did in the “developed” world. Reactions will be unpredictable, sure — but it’s not up to the “first world” to tell the “third world” what to do. The genie is already out of the bottle!