Cast your mind back a few months, and you might remember our interview with Omnifone, which was planning to steal Apple’s mobile music thunder with its own service, called MusicStation.
Well, the company has announced further details, including the first European mobile operator to launch MusicStation (and pricing details), info on which record labels it’ll be selling tunes from, and more bluster about how it’s going to hand iPhone its shiny arse on a plate.
So, the big news is that MusicStation is launching properly today, albeit only on Scandinavian operator Telenor. However, Omnifone says it’s now signed up 30 mobile operators in other countries, including the UK, who’ll be going live in the coming months.
Omnifone is also announcing that all four major record labels are on board – Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner – as well as a bunch of independent labels including Beggars Group and Vital:PIAS.
The idea is that users pay around £1.99 a week (so a tenner a month, in other words) for unlimited downloads of music to their mobile phones. Omnifone says that the service will be available to 100 million mobile subscribers this year, although that’s presumably adding up all the subscribers to its partner operators whose handsets can run the MusicStation application, rather than a realistic estimate of how many of those are a.) music fans who b.) would be interested in the service.
Since it first announced MusicStation earlier this year, Omnifone has talked lots about it being an iPhone-slayer, and today’s announcement is clearly aimed at getting in ahead of the iPhone’s big launch later this month. But although both involve mobile music, it’s hard to see this as a straight battle – I’m not sure how many people dribbling at the prospect of getting an iPhone will change their minds purely because their operator starts offering MusicStation.
Nevertheless, that’s not to take away from Omnifone’s innovation with the service, which if it lives up to its billing, could be a big leap forward in mobile music.
By Stuart Dredge | June 14th, 2007