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MusicStation races to beat iPhone/iTunes combo

updated 11:15 am EDT, Thu June 14, 2007

Omnifone MusicStation Live

Omnifone today announced that its new mobile music service MusicStation service is now live, representing one of the first unlimited online music stores available through cellphones. As the company first revealed in its 3GSM unveiling, the now active service directly challenges both the iPhone and its iTunes Store companion by offering a universal player and a flat-rate store. Its software layers runs on top of virtually any music phone and bases its entire structure on an unlimited weekly subscription model. The approach allows any music phone to keep relevant music in rotation as long as the device is within coverage of an EDGE (2.5G) or HSDPA (3G) mobile Internet connection, according to the company: as many phones don't have enough storage to hold the user's entire library, the service will automatically cache as many favorites as possible and download the next track in sequence to effectively produce an unlimited library which still holds music when the phone wanders outside of service.

Also part of the finished product is the social element. Subscribers can maintain friends and share song or playlist recommendations between each other. Omnifone notes that it will also have a dynamic suggestion system that offers new music as well as concert listings depending on track history.

MusicStation has signed all four major labels to its service due in part to copy protection. All downloaded tracks are stored in a protected version of the mobile-friendly eAAC format that prevents unwanted copies and also expires when the subscription runs out; service is currently limited to phones only but will include a computer-based client in the near future, according to the company.

Service begins today in Sweden through local carrier Telenor, who will charge 25 Kronor ($3.50 US) weekly for the service, which is free of data charges. A European release is still planned for the summer at 3 Euros ($4) with the same terms.

The service has already drawn attention for its consciously anti-Apple marketing, which positions MusicStation as an early and more flexible alternative to the Apple device due in Europe late this year. The iPhone is so far known only to accept purchased music from the iTunes Store or unprotected services and requires that music first be copied over from a computer, preventing mobile downloads.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    not a competition

    Unless I missed something, I don't think you can access the iTMS and download music from the iPhone, can you? If not, its hard to call this competition.

  1. horvatic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2002


    The real question is

    The real question is do you really want to spend all your money on data charges downloading songs? I think I would rather use iTunes off of my Mac to do this anyway and save a whole lot of money on data charges.

  1. shmoolie

    Junior Member

    Joined: May 2002


    Is it a race...

    ..if you can't even get out of the blocks?

    C'mon. Enough with this nonsense about iphone "killers". MacNN, stick to Mac/Apple news and leave the gadgets to techgadget, engadget, etc.

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    please re-read

    "...who will charge 25 Kronor ($3.50 US) weekly for the service, which is free of data charges".

    In other words, your monthly subscription is equivalent of 100SKR (or about $15), which includes bandwidth/airtime. The service is an excellent idea conceptually; however, as always, when devil is in the details, it will not be even a blip on the Apple's radar. Unless Apple's design engineers worked on its user interface, it will be clunky enough not to attract anyone but a small group of tech-savvy youth.

  1. jbelkin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2003


    "Potential" audience NADA

    Potential audience means nothing. In theory, the potential audience for drinking Red Bull is 6.5 billion people everyday ... same with their music dreams. Having the capability means NOTHING.

    “… Recent survey was that over half the people who had a music phone don’t have a one song loaded on them,” he said. “Not a single one. And mostly it’s because they don’t care, Forty-four percent had zero songs; 18 percent said they did not have as many songs as they wanted.” David Chamberlain, Principal Analyst at InStat

  1. JimmyJackFunk21

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007


    The real race

    Mercora has MusicStation and the iPhone already beat. You can get your digital music wirelessly through the "M" app from Mercora. You get your music, your friend's, and thousands of music channels, and all at a flat monthly fee. Too little, too late...

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