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French Elvis download exclusive to Orange

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Orange subscribers are to get early access to a new Johnny Hallyday single.

While virtually unknown outside France, Johnny is massive in his home country with 33 number one hits.

Orange subscribers can download a track off his new album track, "La Loi du Silence" (The law of silence) already, but the rest of the world will have to wait until Monday to find out what France's answer to Cliff Richard is offering.

Mobile phone companies like offering exclusive content to their subscribers - Orange did a similar deal with Warner Music for a Madonna track last year.

Partly, it helps associate the brand with the hip-young-things they want to attract - though whether Madonna (49) or Johnny (64) really appeal to the next generation is open to question - but mainly such deals exist because telecoms executives desperately want to work for media companies. The choice of acts would certainly seem to indicate a selection made by middle-aged management rather than trend-setting youth, or perhaps that's all Warner was prepared to offer them.

Exclusive content for mobile phone networks is part of their transition into media companies, but it remains to be seen if it brings any additional customers, or prevents any from leaving.

With record companies and networks still testing the water one toe at a time, we can expect to see more of this kind of offering. But the time when you choose your network operator based on your taste in music is a long way off, and rightfully so. ®

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