updated 12:30 pm EDT, Tue September 9, 2008
Sony Ericsson UL Music
Sony Ericsson may follow in the steps of Nokia's Comes With Music and run its own unlimited music service, the Financial Times claims. Without referring to sources, the newspaper asserts that Sony Ericsson is negotiating with multiple major labels to offer music downloads for its own phones. It's unknown whether the cellphone designer would follow a similar pattern of tying a subscription to the price of certain phones or if it would be strictly optional for phone owners.
If true, the service would be announced as early as this month and launch in Europe before the end of the year; besides Sony itself, EMI and Warner are also said to be onboard with only Comes With Music backer Universal still uncommitted. Sony Ericsson itself declines to either confirm or deny the report.
The alleged move is said to be spurred on by the Japanese-Swedish partnership's dropping market influence, which has seen it both slip in total market share as well as profit as it loses out in the mid- to high-range cellphone market versus both new and established phone manufacturers.
Both Nokia and Sony Ericsson run their own pay-per-track music stores but have seen relatively little success; they are also currently under pressure by music labels investigating different business models to spur growth in digital sales. An unlimited Sony Ericsson service would also deepen the connection between cellphone makers and their online stores, which first gained a significant boost with the addition of the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store to the iPhone.