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Virgin Launches A Mobile Music Store, But The Big One Is M.I.A.

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It’s now 14 months since Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) told the world it would launch a service offering unlimited music downloads, minus copy protection, for a small monthly fee.

Now rumoured to be named MusicFish, there’s still no sign of the idea gaining sufficient label support to launch.

Virgin is now launching a mobile-only music service. Based on IMIMobile’s DaVinci Music platform, Virgin Media Music Store is a different kettle of fish – a mobile music store offering five downloads per month for £4, or for £3 to existing Virgin Media mobile subscribers…

That’s basically just the same per-track price point as has become standard for a la carte download stores. Virgin’s mobile head Jonathan Kini, in the announcement, hails it “a key milestone in our mobile entertainment strategy”…

But it’s far cry from the radically innovative model Virgin Media had been trying for before labels’ concerns came to the fore. After considering a radical legal-P2P idea that was scuppered by last-minute label reluctance, Virgin last year announced Universal was on board with a new unlimited-downloads idea. But either the other labels have prove sceptical, or it now looks like Virgin was just flying a kite to show legislators, then drawing up anti-piracy action in the Digital Britain report, that it could launch legal music services without new laws needing to be foist upon ISPs.

By launching a mobile-specific store, Virgin has forgone the opportunity to launch a truly multi-platform music service along the triple- or quad-play lines it has been favouring. Its web-based virginmedia.com/music doesn’t offer downloads or streams.

The mobile music store did not work for me when I followed the link on Monday. It was debuted at this weekend’s V Festival but is due for public launch on September 1.