Omnifone Launches MusicStation Service
by Barney Powerhead
Omnifone, a UK based mobile music company, today launches MusicStation, an all-you-can-eat full-track mobile music service which will be rolled-out in partnership with major music labels, mobile operators and mobile industry partners across the world. The service will allow users access to the world's music on their industry-standard mobiles for GBP 1.99 per week. As well as working in collaboration with the world's major music labels, Omnifone has already signed partnerships with 23 mobile network operators, who have subscribers in 40 countries and a total customer base of 690 million subscribers.
The first operator partners to announce Rollout Agreements for MusicStation will be Scandinavian network operator Telenor and Vodafone partner network Vodacom in South Africa. Four more networks will be launching across major territories in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific in Q2 2007 and these rollouts will be announced in these local markets in the near future. Further European operators plan rollouts Q3 2007.
Omnifone confirms the countries its partners have active mobile phone networks in include: Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and UK.
MusicStation provides a complete music experience, enabling users to search for music, download and play music on their mobile, Mac/PC, create, manage and share playlists and tracks with the MusicStation community, and view the latest music news. All of this functionality, including music downloads, takes place in the background whilst music is being played. Unlike Apple's recently-announced iPhone, MusicStation downloads its music over-the-air across the MNO's data network, giving users instant access to new music at any time, irrespective of their location. MusicStation also works on both 3G and the majority 2.5G marketplace, providing 2.5G subscribers with OTA full music downloads for the first time.
MusicStation includes content from major labels as well as independent music labels and aggregators in local territories. Out-of-the-box MusicStation provides a totally localised music experience. Delivering tracks in Enhanced Advanced Audio Coding format (eAAC+), Omnifone's new service also supports industry-strength DRM. Omnifone believes MusicStation can significantly enhance digital music revenues for partner MNOs, the music labels and the collection societies.
Omnifone also announces the appointment of Mobiltron Asia Pacific, as its Global Services Partner. Mobiltron's appointment will allow Omnifone partner MNOs to easily source factory-enabled handsets or to rapidly customise existing industry-standard handsets to ensure maximum handset reach to the MusicStation platform. Mobiltron distributes, customises and fulfils handsets across Europe and Asia through facilities in the PRC, Hong Kong and France.
MusicStation will run on all 2.5G and 3G music compatible mobiles, accounting for approximately 80% of all mobile phone handsets sold in Western Europe today, with both Java and Symbian versions available at launch. MusicStation's user interface and functionality are virtually identical across all manufacturer handset models, providing the same intuitive user experience on every handset. Downloaded MusicStation tracks and user playlists are stored centrally so that if a mobile is stolen, lost or upgraded, the replacement handset will automatically restore the same music experience the first time MusicStation is switched on.
MusicStation automatically stores a user's favourite tracks on the phone's internal or removable memory. Whilst some phones can store thousands of tracks, others can store less than one hundred. MusicStation maximises the capabilities of any mobile phone by using unlimited downloads from the network to provide access to any of the catalogue at any time. MusicStation's architecture ensures that the memory allocated on the phone is always used to store the user's favourite and about-to-be-played music. This means that users can access their favourite tracks when in Flight Safe mode and access the full catalogue when connected to a 2.5G or 3G data network.
In-built networked community functions, including the ability to share playlists and tracks with other users over operators' data networks mean that MusicStation provides consumers with a truly compelling community experience on the mobile for the first time. MusicStation users will be able to:
- Discover the MusicStation Play Charts (tracks that are being played the most, rather than purely purchased or downloaded, the most);
- Access playlists created by other MusicStation users;
- Use collaborative filtering and nearest-neighbour technology to identify new tracks, artists, albums and other users that are likely to be of interest;
- Publish playlists for other users to access, and achieve a 'cool' status based on their popularity;
- Message other consumers, sending recommended tracks, albums, playlists and messages;
- Receive music news, gig dates, single and album releases and messages from artists, automatically personalised based on what music the consumer listens to the most frequently.
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