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More detail on yesterday’s preview. Universal Music Group has licensed its tunes to Omnifone’s new out-of-the-box all-you-can-eat download service, meaning Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has company in the pre-licensed music market.
Though Omnifone’s £1.99-a-week ($4) service was taken on by Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) UK in November and is on Telenor in Sweden and 3 in Hong Kong, MusicStation Max bypasses the operators and installs the app on handsets through manufacturer relationships. First out the gate is LG’s (SEO: 066570) MusicStation Max phone, due out by the summer. As long as the subscriber has a music-and-data plan, they’ll get the cheap tunes. This might undermine operator music stores, but Omnifone is pitching it as a data revenue driver. After subscribers’ mobile contract expires, they can transfer tunes to another MusicStation Max handset (assuming there will be any) – tunes are also synced to PC and the web for backup.
Universal had already licensed its repertoire to Nokia’s Comes With Music service, which is much more snappily titled. It said the deal covers Europe and Asia-Pacific. The challenge now for both is to get more labels’ involvement.