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Sony Ericsson unveils unlimited music service

24 сентября 2008

Sony Ericsson, the world’s fifth largest mobile maker, on Tuesday night unveiled plans for an unlimited music download service that will compete with a similar proposal by Nokia.

By the end of the year, Telenor, the Nordic telecoms company, will become the first mobile operator to sell Sony Ericsson’s unlimited digital music service to consumers.

In going head to head with Nokia, Sony Ericsson is seeking to differentiate itself by allowing consumers who buy its mobiles with the unlimited music service to transfer some of their songs to other devices.

Nokia’s unlimited music service, due to be unveiled on October 2, comes with so called digital rights management technology that ties downloaded songs to an individual mobile and personal computer.

Sony Ericsson is hoping that its music service will help with efforts to revive the company, which is jointly owned by Japan’s Sony and Sweden’s Ericsson. It has issued two profit warnings this year.

Sony Ericsson is working in partnership with Omnifone, a provider of music download services to mobile makers and operators, as well as the world’s top four record companies: Universal Music, Sony BMG, Warner Music and EMI.

The mobiles that feature Sony Ericsson’s music service, to be called PlayNow Plus, will come preloaded with 1,000 songs.

Consumers who buy the mobiles will also have access to the back catalogues of the top four record companies, plus smaller music labels. They will be able to download songs to their phones or their personal computers.

Mobile operators such as Telenor that choose to offer Sony Ericsson’s music service to their customers will determine the pricing. Consumers can expect to pay a premium.

Lennard Hoornik, Sony Ericsson’s head of marketing, said PlayNow Plus would give consumers “the freedom to instantly discover, download, play and recommend all the music they want”.

The unlimited music services by Nokia and Sony Ericsson give the record companies an opportunity to benefit from new revenue streams.

Ian Whitfield, vice-president of digital business development at EMI, said the company wanted to bring its artists closer to their fans by giving consumers “innovative, effective and legal ways” to enjoy music, and PlayNow Plus was “a perfect example of this”.

The mobile operators that decide to offer Sony Ericsson’s music service to their customers are expected to provide subscription periods of six, 12 and 18 months.

At the end of those periods, the songs that have been most frequently played by consumers will be available to them without digital rights management technology. The songs that have been played least will not be kept.

Источник: Financial Times

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