AfterDawn: Tech news

AT&T launches a mobile music store

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 05 Oct 2004 14:45

American mobile phone operator AT&T has launched its own legal online music store, aimed for mobile phones rather than PCs. Well, that is at least what AT&T wishes users to believe -- but it is not as neat as it sounds, but instead the service, powered by Loudeye's existing licensing deals with record labels and Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format, functions as a mobile frontend to a music store.
The tracks are purchased via a phone, but they can't be downloaded to the phone, but have to be downloaded to customer's PC at later stage instead. The idea of fully-functional "mobile iTunes-clone" sounds like something that would find its following, but according to the AT&T's typical-$0.99-per-song-but-buy-via-phone -service's specs, this one doesn't live up to its expectations.

Only relatively unique feature in service is its co-operation with song-recognition service Music ID that recognizes the song playing when it "hears" even just few seconds of the track. So, AT&T is hoping that its users would launch the Music ID service everytime they walk on a street and make the service to recognize the song playing and allow them to purchase the track and download it at home PC later.

Meanwhile operators are trying to figure out how to get their DRM schemes bundled into phones and thus making the above-mentioned scenario a reality, record labels have already earned -- over the last 5 years or so -- billions of dollars, particularly in Europe and Asia, via mobile phone ringtones. So, mobile phones seem to work for music biz, not just the way they thought it would.


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