Music to my ears now Vodafone comes with music

 In music

Javier Foncillas - Vodafone I had lunch today with Javier Foncillas who is Director of Branded Content for Vodafone.  He was very excited as they have just launched their new Vodafone music service – reaching deals with the leading record labels to provide DRM free MP3 music.  From what he told me, it was an interesting process in itself – with some labels “getting it” straight away, and others taking a little longer to come to the party.

The service will be available in the UK next month and will be a mix of music that can be sold per track or album, with a high quality version available for the PC, as well as a mobile version for direct download.  Once bought DRM free – the track is yours to keep forever.

They will also have an “unlimited” package with some DRM where you can get unlimited music for a weekly fee and the music is tied to your SIM card – allowing you to keep it for as long as you are a Vodafone customer

This all runs alongside what Nokia are trying to achieve with their “comes with music” initiative that most of the UK carriers have ignored – as it obviously competes directly with their own initiatives such as this one.

According to Javier, the Vodafone Music store is powered by Real Networks, and DRM free services will be available in Germany, Italy, UK, Spain and New Zealand by the summer.  More information can be found at www.voadafonemusic.com

Australia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Turkey will follow in due course, along with services provided via Vodafone’s partner networks in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Iceland, Slovenia and Switzerland.

It will be interesting to see which UK operator is the next to move into this space – one to watch closely.

This initiative, coupled with information on music preferences and listening habits should make mobile advertising in this segment more interesting.

The official Vodafone release is below.  Congratulations to Javier and the team – bring on DRM free mobile music!

Vodafone’s Music Catalogue Switches to Digital Rights Management Free MP3 Format from Universal Music, Sony Music and EMI on Mobile and PC – 11 March 2009

First global mobile network operator to offer DRM free music across both mobile phones and PCs
Customers are free to play their downloaded music on any of their digital devices.

Over a million tracks to choose from including a huge selection of today’s top artists such as Britney Spears, Coldplay, Duffy, Lady Gaga, Lily Allen and The Fray.

Vodafone announces today that it has signed deals with the world’s largest record companies Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Music to offer their tracks and albums DRM free (without digital rights management) across Vodafone markets for both mobile phones and PCs.

The new deals are the first of their kind for a mobile network operator enabling dual delivery of DRM free music to a wide range of mobile phones and PCs with no need to sideload or synchronize. With over a million tracks available from every music genre, for the first time customers will be able to play and enjoy music bought from these three labels via the Vodafone Music store* without any limit to the type of device provided they belong to the customer.

In addition, those customers who have already bought tracks or albums from Universal Music, Sony Music or EMI in WMA format (with DRM) will be able to upgrade them to MP3 at no extra charge within the existing download allowance. DRM free music will be available through a number of Vodafone countries by the summer and will complement Vodafone’s current music offerings.

“Music is central to many of our customers’ lives,” said Pieter Knook, Vodafone Internet Services Director. “By Vodafone pioneering DRM free on mobile and offering MP3s on PC, they will now have the freedom to download tracks from their favourite artists without any device restrictions allowing them to experience their music however they want it, wherever they are.”

“Vodafone has been a business partner of Universal Music for six years,” said Rob Wells, SVP, Digital, at Universal Music Group International. “This new deal shows how serious Vodafone is about music, and opens up new opportunities for both companies – but, more importantly, for consumers and artists.”

“We are thrilled that this agreement will provide Vodafone’s millions of customers in Europe with access to music by our popular local artists and global superstars,” commented Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business, U.S. Sales, Corporate Strategy, Sony Music Entertainment. “Vodafone’s convenient mobile and PC solution gives fans another great way to integrate music into their daily lives and forge an even stronger connection with the artists they love.”

“EMI has long been a proponent of DRM free music because of the benefits it brings to fans and so we are very supportive of this initiative from Vodafone,” said Douglas Merrill, EMI Music’s COO of New Music and President, Digital Business. “With its international reach and commitment to music, Vodafone is taking a major step forward for our industry by offering consumers more flexibility and choice.”

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Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.