Vodafone Music had a disappointingly rushed feel when it was launched yesterday so we'd hoped for greater things from O2. Sadly it's no better...
Dubbed 'My Play' the mobile portal is available exclusively through O2 Active and runs in a phone friendly format offering audio, video and ringtones in conjunction with Sony BMG, it's only major label partner at this stage.
“This is the first joint venture retail partnership between a major label and an operator and is further testament to O2’s strategy to work with the best partners to create products and services that will enhance the customer experience, “ said O2 UK Marketing Director Sally Cowdry. “Joining forces with such a leader in the music space will bring our customers an in-depth music service with the most popular artists available straight to their mobile.”
She has a point, but this is certainly no WiFi iTunes and with individual tracks costing a hefty (and Vodafone Music equalling) 99p, videos £1.50 and ringtones a - quite frankly ridiculous - £3.50 I'm not sure I see how the convenience outweighs simply downloading the content more cheaply on a PC and transferring it to your handset. The final kicker: no albums sales. None. Zip.
Looking at things in a more positive light, it is clearly very early doors for My Play and certainly the major online music stores didn't have licensing agreements in place with all Big Four music labels from day one. That said, this is mid 2008 and its desktop rivals are established with a far wider range of content and at cheaper prices.
I'm sure My Play will become more competitive with time. This big question however is: how much time will it need...?