Feeds

Unlimited mobile music for £1.99 a week

Et tu, Apple?

High performance access to file storage

In what may prove to be the most far-reaching digital music launch since iTunes, Omnifone today took the wraps off its MusicStation service.

The service gives mobile phone users access to the big four labels' music catalogs on-demand for £1.99 (€2.99) a week, using a player that runs on mid-range feature phones and GPRS or EDGE networks, as well as high-end 3G phones - which Omnifone reckons gives it access to 70 per cent of the world's phone users. Indie content will follow, it's expected, as the indies are in the process of setting up their one-stop licensing arm Merlin, announced earlier this month.

As well as signing up the major four labels - UMG, Sony-BMG, Warner Music and EMI - Omnifone has inked deals with 23 network operators across the globe for MusicStation. The first of these rollouts - Telenor in Scandinavia and Vodafone's Vodacom in South Africa - are confirmed for launch in Q2, with many of the others following in Q3.

In addition to the mobile-only service, a PC and Mac version of the MusicStation client will be available as part of a premium service costing £2.99 (€3.99) a week. With each plan, there will be no data charges.

Users will be able to receive share playlists, create personalized charts, and receive information about artists, concerts and promotions in the MusicStation player.

Omnifone, then offers a full-on challenge not only to Apple's iTunes, but quite probably to MySpace too.

"Selling music is a legacy business," CEO Rob Lewis told us. Lewis believes per-unit pricing is dead and the winners will be companies who offer the best subscription services.

He also believes MusicStation's willingness to partner with carriers casts the Apple's iPhone announce in a new light. Cingular agreed to Apple's terms and disabled over-the-air music downloads to the iPhone - granting Apple exclusivity over acquiring content for the device, which must either be ripped from a CD or else be purchased through Apple's own iTunes store. Verizon had balked at similar terms.

"iPhone is not good for operators," Lewis said. "MusicStation is an all you can eat iTunes you can access from the bus, or anywhere."

Partnering with the operators also gives Omnifone a global roll-out that PC-based companies can only envy, another contrast with Apple's country-by-country exclusive world tour. Apple launched the US version of the iTunes store in spring 2003, with the UK following in summer of 2004, and Japan more than two years after the original launch. Lewis notes that in each market, 50 per cent of the catalog is local, something ignored by rivals.

So you can see why networks are keen on the start-up: all the music is sent over the networks directly to the phone. But what does it do for us?

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Using MusicFone

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables
There's plenty of good money to be made if you stay out of the PC market
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.