3GSM - Omnifone reveals mobile music download service

A UK company hopes to disrupt Apple by launching a music download platform that doesn't require customers to use a credit card and charges weekly

Omnifone wants to put a new face on mobile phone music downloads with its MusicStation service.

Built around a software client that runs on a wide range of phones, MusicStation links to a subscription-based online music store and allows users to build and share playlists, follow news about their favorite bands -- and play and download music on their mobile for a fixed weekly fee, said CEO Rob Lewis.

The MusicStation application lets subscribers download music over the air using GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) or 3G (third-generation) mobile networks. The software runs on phones with Symbian's Symbian OS or other phones that can run Java applets.

Omnifone, based in London, hopes to challenge Apple's forthcoming iPhone, offering users a similarly easy-to-use music service from around three-quarters of phones currently sold, but giving network operators a slice of the revenue, Lewis said. The MusicStation platform charges music directly to the customer's phone bill, and doesn't require customers to use a credit card.

The company has reached agreements with 23 mobile network operators to use its music download platform to sell music from major record labels, including Universal Music Group. It has also partnered with Musiwave, a mobile music services provider that's part of Openwave Systems, to distribute the MusicStation system.

Scandinavian operator Telenor and South African network Vodacom are scheduled to launch MusicStation first, by June. Omnifone will name four more customers in Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region by June, it said at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

Omnifone said consumers don't need a computer or broadband Internet connection to use MusicStation, although downloaded music can also be transferred to a user's computer with a premium subscription.

MusicStation is priced as a weekly subscription; in the U.K., the price will be £1.99 per week (US$3.87) or Euro 2.99 (US$3.89) throughout Europe. The premium service will be £2.99 in the U.K. and Euro 3.99 throughout Europe.

The platform supports digital rights management (DRM) technology, which limits how the music can be used, and tracks will be sold in the Enhanced Advanced Audio Coding format (eAAC+), Omnifone said. On 3G networks, they are encoded at 48K bps (bits per second), and on GPRS networks at 32K bps to shorten download times.

On phones with limited memory capacity, MusicStation monitors which tracks are played most often, and deletes little-used tracks to free up space. They can, however, be downloaded again later as long as the user remains a subscriber, Lewis said.

Peter Sayer, in Paris, contributed to this report.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?