Vodaphone Makes Mobile Music DRM Free With Three Majors On Board


NEWBURY, UK (Hypebot) – Vodafone has signed deals with the Universal, Sony and EMI to sell tracks DRM free on both mobile phones and PCc with a rollout scheduled for this summer. Reuters reports ongoing talks with fourth major label group WMG.

The new deals are a first for a mobile company enabling dual delivery of DRM free music to both cell phones and PCs with no need to sideload or synchronize. Tracks can then be synched with portable devices and customers who already bought in the WMA format with DRM can upgrade them to MP3 at no extra charge within an existing download allowance.

IS NOKIA NEXT?

Vodaphone's move is a direct challenge to Nokia's aggressive mobile music strategy. Nokia is said to be meeting with less than stellar consumer demand for its Comes With Music offerinf and they too are in talks with labels to go DRM free. But Comes With Music is a flat fee unlimited download service and labels may be reluctant to allow unrestricted tracks loose in exchange for Nokia's single payment.

From The Press Release:

“Music is central to many of our customers’ lives,” said Pieter Knook, Vodafone Internet Services Director. “By Vodafone pioneering DRM free on mobile and offering MP3s on PC, they will now have the freedom to download tracks from their favorite artists without any device restrictions allowing them to experience their music however they want it, wherever they are.”

“Vodafone has been a business partner of Universal Music for six years,” said Rob Wells, SVP, Digital, at Universal Music Group International. “This new deal shows how serious Vodafone is about music, and opens up new opportunities for both companies – but, more importantly, for consumers and artists.”

“We are thrilled that this agreement will provide Vodafone’s millions of customers in Europe with access to music by our popular local artists and global superstars,” commented Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business, U.S. Sales, Corporate Strategy, Sony Music Entertainment. “Vodafone’s convenient mobile and PC solution gives fans another great way to integrate music into their daily lives and forge an even stronger connection with the artists they love.”

“EMI has long been a proponent of DRM free music because of the benefits it brings to fans and so we are very supportive of this initiative from Vodafone,” said Douglas Merrill, EMI Music’s COO of New Music and President, Digital Business. “With its international reach and commitment to music, Vodafone is taking a major step forward for our industry by offering consumers more flexibility and choice.”