As general partner for venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners, Bob Abbott keeps a close eye on the intersection of technology and entertainment. Mobile is one area that has caused many VCs no small degree of grief, thanks to slim margins and still-evolving business models.

Norwest and Abbott are involved in mobile marketing firm Mozes, which offers a text-messaging platform that lets artists and fans communicate with each other via mobile phones. Abbott says it's these kinds of mobile tools that have the best chance at profiting from the mobile entertainment space while the industries still work out how to offer streaming and downloadable content.

On Oct. 6, Abbott will be moderating a panel at Billboard's Mobile Entertainment Live that will explore where the money is in mobile entertainment services today. In this exclusive Q&A, he discusses his thoughts on the subject as a preview for what to expect at the event.

A recent Forrester study shows that only 10% of phone users listen to music on phone. Why is that and what has to change to increase that figure?
That's actually not surprising to me because most mass market phones don't support the downloading or streaming of music in an easy fashion. My guess is most people who have phones, have an iPod, and that's how they listen to music. As smartphones become more prevalent and penetrate more deeply into the market, then I would expect music over the smartphone to become a higher and higher percentage of what people listen to.

Where do you think the money is in mobile music? Is mobile more a streaming/access model or a purchase/download model?
At least for a while, it will still be purchase/download, until the streaming guys can figure out that model. That's obviously what we'll be talking about. Does that streaming model work and can it work for a lot of people over time? As the industry matures and we get more capable phones, the streaming model will become more prevalent. But a lot of times you don't get the bandwidth you need to stream, or you're not in coverage. As the infrastructure gets better, I think streaming becomes easier. We just have to make sure the business model make sense.

Is it the cost of bandwidth, the coverage of the network, or the limitations of the device that is most holding things back?
My guess is it's more cost-driven. What does it cost to offer service and can the price get to the point were people are willing to pay a monthly or annual subscription. I do believe that over time the access piece improves, as will the capabilities of the phone. The technology curve is going to give you more powerful phones and better access. So I really think that over the long term it's whether the business model works.

What do you make of Nokia's Comes with Music service?
It's an interesting model. I'm not sure how well I can get cross-sold and upsold to taking something like that on when I walk into a story to buy a phone. It can work. But do people know about it? I haven't seen a lot of reviews about how people are responding. It's hard for a handset manufacturer to push something like this if they don't have a distribution channel that's incented to bring it online. If you can't get the sales reps in the store to push it, I think it's hard.

How serious is the drop in ringtone sales to the overall mobile music business?
I think it opens up room for new things to take over. The ringtone as it related to the cost of a track... they were very differently priced. I could buy a whole track for 99-cents but a ringtone for $3. Downloadable music has become easier to use and put on the phone, and that makes the ringtone market decline a bit. People want to personalize their phones, but the ringtone maybe was a bit of a fad. It lasted a good time, but there are other things that are attracting people's attention. But I don't think its decline means the end of music on mobile.

Abbott will be moderating the debate panel "Mobile Music's Money Matters" at Billboard's Mobile Entertainment Live, taking place Oct. 6 in San Diego as part of the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment conference. Other panelists include the CEO of music ID service Shazam, Nokia's Adam Mirabella (formerly of Sony Music), RealNetwork's Mike Lunsford, Jim Ryan of Motricity (formerly with AT&T) and Clear Channel Communication's Paul Miraldi. Keynotes include conversations with Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, the top entertainment content executives from Verizon Wireless and AT&T, and BlackBerry creator Research in Motion. A full agenda is available at