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Vodafone Music has disastrous relaunch

Near-total promotional clusterf*ck

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Vodafone's free music promotion last week saw overloaded servers, compatibility problems and customers getting billed - all of which bodes badly for the operator's upcoming 360 service.

Vodafone Music relaunched on Friday with a new client application and a promotional offer of ten free tracks - at least for customers who had the patience to keep trying to attach to the overloaded servers, had installed the right version of Adobe's Flash software, and weren't among the unfortunate few who got billed for their freebies.

Vodafone told us that the overloading was down to the service getting more traffic than usual on Friday, around 20 times apparently, though given the free music offer that could, perhaps, have been predicted.

The El Reg freetard desk managed to get nine of its entitlement downloaded before midnight, when the offer expired, thanks to broken connections and obscure errors:

Vodafone Music Error

Clearly the wrong version of Flash here - or is it?

Those errors persisted over the weekend, and when we took the matter up with Vodafone on Monday we were told that a new version of Adobe's Flash was needed: clearly we should have guessed.

But not everyone had such an easy fix, and the company has been crediting some customers with £5 to make up for the inconvenience of being unable to download their free music as promised.

Teething trouble with a new product is fair enough - but failing to predict heavy traffic generated by promotional offers, and being unable to generate useful error messages both augur ill for a company that sees service provision as its future. ®

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