Omnifone Plugs MusicStation

LONDON (Hypebot) – Music is taking center stage as all sectors of the mobile industry search for ways to stand out in a cluttered marketplace during this week's GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But music services provider Omnifone is using the event to tout a new service aimed squarely at the very non-mobile desktop PC.

ISPs and cable companies, who are under increasing governmental pressure to fight piracy, are being sold MusicStation Next Generation as an immediate "alternative to downloading music illegally over peer-to-peer file sharing networks". Unlike most other proposed solutions, Omnifone already has international licensing agreements for both downloads and streaming with all four major music labels. This means that the embattled ISPs could almost instantly start selling subscribers "unlimited access to a vast catalog of music to their Mac, PC or set-top box". A deal is already in place to power an unlimited music service for Sky TV.

ANALYSIS:

While details are sketchy Omnifone appears to primarily be an at home offering. Omnifone CEO did tell Dow Jones that "each month subscribers can retain a clutch of their favorite tracks which can be downloaded and played on portable music players." But how many tracks and with what restrictions or DRM is unclear.

Consumers have already signaled a strong unwillingness to accept any restrictions on their music. So while Omnifone may be a well timed salve to sooth government regulators and a music industry calling for action, an "alternative to piracy" its' not.

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