Vodafone takes on iTunes with subscription music service

Mobile phone service provider Vodafone has announced the launch of a music service that allows its customers to download unlimited tracks for a flat weekly fee.

Mobile phone service provider Vodafone has announced the launch of a music service that allows its customers to download unlimited tracks for a flat weekly fee.

Australia will be the sixth country to launch the service, titled MusicStation, and will offer over one million tracks while eliminating any download charges.

The service charges a weekly fee of $2.75, which allows users to download unlimited songs and swap tracks and playlists with other Vodafone users.

Vodafone Live services head Karen Paterson says the service is a fundamental shift from other services of its kind.

“We want to shake up the market and offer something completing different,” she says. “There are currently online models, but what we feel with this service is that it’s different because you can do it when you’re out and about on the move.

“There’s freedom to explore as much music as possible. We’ve tried to make it very easy to use.”

British firm Omnifone created the MusicStation software and helped launch the service with Vodafone in Britain, South Africa and New Zealand.

Omnifone chief executive Rob Lewis says the service is a step from other subscription offerings.

“What differentiates it is that built into the MusicStation service is a community angle. That means is you can share playlists and tracks with your friends and build a community where you can get recommendations,” he says.

“What also makes it different is that with other services you need to make an economic decision whenever you buy a track, but with a subscription service you pay the fee a week and that’s it, and then you’ve got fully unfettered access. And it gives you the freedom to download whatever you want.”

But Lewis says there is no way for users to swap out tracks to a PC yet, with copyright issues “just a fact of life in most services”. However, he says plans to allow phone-to-PC transfer upgrades to the service are in development.

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