Sony Ericsson to offer music download service - Fierce Wireless
Sony Ericsson is expected to unveil plans for a music download service later this year. When the handset joint venture launched its latest music phone under the Walkman brand in May, it said that it may expand its current PlayNow service (which offers ringtones and games) to also include music. Earlier this month, Nokia announced its intention to acquire music distribution company Loudeye for $600 million and set up a music service under its own brand.
Ericsson already provides the backend technology that lets carriers power their own download music services, and the joint venture has been selling Walkman-branded music phones like hot cakes. Meanwhile, partner Sony owns a chunk of the music label Sony BMG and also operates the Sony Connect digital media distribution service.
For more about Sony Ericsson's intentions to launch a music download service:
- read this article from the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)
Nokia acquires Loudeye - Fierce Wireless
Loudeye, a provider of white-labeled digital and mobile music services, finally found a buyer in Nokia, almost a year after first putting itself on the sales block. The company previously sold its U.S. operations to Muze for $11 million. Nokia is ponying up $60 million cash for the company, saying it plans to offer a "comprehensive mobile music experience" using the new technology to launch by 2007.
Key to the Nokia deal is Loudeye's ownership of OD2, a mobile music service backend provider it bought for $38 million in 2004. Prior to the acquisition, Nokia and Loudeye had teamed to develop a Nokia-run mobile music service. This is a huge move by Nokia to take a direct role in the mobile music future, but one that likely will have a greater effect in Europe than in the U.S.
Sony Ericsson wants to develop its PlayNow service, Reuters reported today, but gave few details about its plans. Currently the service offers ringtone downloads - users can listen to a clip and then pay for a download. A spokesman said: "We are developing the PlayNow service further - it is part of our bigger music strategy."
Rafat adds: One of Sony Ericsson's parent Ericcson already has a tie-up with Napster, and has been working on their music service for a while...in fact, Napster Mobile is Ericsson's hosted music service featuring Napster's catalog of artist images, ring tones and full-length songs. Hopefully some synergies will work here, but with Sony's that's a lot to ask.