updated 08:30 am EDT, Tue July 31, 2007
ATT eMusic Mobile
AT&T today rolled out eMusic Mobile, one of the first cellphone music stores to drop copy protection from its songs. As with eMusic's normal computer-only store and supporting previous leaks, songs are purchased in the unrestricted MP3 format rather than locked-down WMA or store-specific files. The freedom lets owners copy songs off the phone to other devices, including iPods and other portable media players; customers also get rights to download a second copy on their computer regardless of what will be with the mobile tracks. Opening the store also gives AT&T the largest mobile music catalog in the US at more than 2.7 million songs, according to the carrier.
The service currently requires a custom program that lets users browse, preview, and download songs. Phones that can run the software to date are the Samsung A717 and A727; the Nokia N75 and Samsung Sync also have updates available to support the online store. AT&T's service contrasts with the regular eMusic store in focusing on purchasing small blocks of songs and charges $7.49 per month for five downloads, with further downloads available in additional packs of five for the same price.
The service is the first direct-download music store from AT&T and notably omits the iPhone, which includes neither the support for third-party software nor the 3G wireless access used to speed downloads on the supported phones. Apple has so far announced no plans for a mobile iTunes service and is only compatible with eMusic through computer downloads, which must first be imported into iTunes.