Onmiphone, a UK based mobile music company, has announced an exclusive deal with Vodafone UK, to make its all-you-can-eat MusicStation download service available on a wide range of handsets. The service is live and handsets are available now at Phones2U stores and Vodafone stores across the country.
MusicStation is a subscription based music service available at £1.99 a week, but can also be rolled up into monthly contract tariffs, though these start at £43.62. There are 13 compatible handsets at launch but this number will be up to 30 by Christmas, including a Blackberry. The headline launch phone is the touch-screen LG Viewty, of which we will have a full review on Sunday.
The service is clearly aimed at an alternative to the iPhone, which requires the purchase of an expensive handset only will only work on future iPhones. MusicStation works on a wide range on handsets and can be transferred across to a new handset seamlessly. All your downloaded music appears once you login, and tracks appear grey if not on the handset and black if downloaded. Users, will be able to browse Charts, read news and in fashionable social networking stylie, let you send music to friends.
The music labels on board are Sony BMG, EMI, Warner and Universal. Rob Wells of Universal was present to state that, "the digital music revolution starts today". He also accused journalists of being "myopic" about criticising subscription based services and that we should think how young people think about music. Of course it would be unreasonable to not point out that the music is only available on your phone, and when you stop subscribing, you no longer have access to any music. A demonstrator said that software that would enable you to transfer tracks to your PC was in development, but considering the tracks are a miserly 48Kbps bit-rate, would you want to? Will this be an iTunes beater? Only time will tell.
As you can see from the picture above, Girls Aloud were on hand to help launch the service, by singing three songs to a very small room of journalists. We were told that the group were the very first to ever download a track using the service, though one speaker told us it was on and LG Viewty, and another said it was on a Samsung. Come on now, which was it? We need to know, for posterity's sake.
Update We've just been informed by OmniPhone that the PC version will offer 192kbps WMA files. Much, much better indeed.