• United States

Vodafone, Sony team on new mobile music service

Jan 09, 20062 mins
Network Security

After launching a streamed mobile TV service, Vodafone Group PLC is poised to introduce a new streamed music offering, in a move to boost revenue beyond its core telephony business.

Europe’s largest mobile phone operator has joined forces with Sony NetServices GmbH, a unit of Sony, to launch the Vodafone Radio DJ service, which offers personalized music channels streamed to customers’ handsets and computers, Vodafone said Monday in a statement.

Vodafone joins a growing group of mobile phone operators around the globe launching new streamed and downloadable music services.

Last week, for instance, Verizon Wireless. announced plans to launch an online music store this month, allowing customers to download songs directly to their phones and to Microsoft Windows XP PCs.

A key feature of the Vodafone service is a personalization system that enables customers to “train” preprogrammed channels to their own personal tastes by simply pressing a button to indicate “like” or “dislike” while listening to a song. When pressing “dislike,” customers automatically skip to the next song, according to Vodafone.

Users also can create their own personal channels.

“This is an interesting new way for users to explore and hear music that they don’t have with traditional methods,” says Ben Padovan, a Vodafone spokesman.

The service will be available for a fee through the Vodafone Live portal, which requires handsets using packet-based technologies, such as GPRS or 3G.

The fee comes either as a monthly subscription, to cost between €10 (US$12) and €15, or in the form of a daily rate between €1.50 and €2, according to Padovan.

Prices will vary according to market, he says.

Vodafone will charge no extra data fee for sending the music to the phone.

In addition, users can download and pay for songs. Pricing for music downloads was unavailable, however.

All music will be copy-protected using Microsoft digital rights management technology.

“We will be offering hundreds of thousands of music tracks from major labels as well as independent labels,” Padovan says.

Vodafone Radio DJ will be launched in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the U.K. over the next few months, with other markets in the Vodafone Group to follow in the course of the year.