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Vodafone to offer DRM-free music to mobile

By | Published on Thursday 12 March 2009

Vodafone yesterday announced it had deals in place with three of the four major record companies to provide digital rights management free music via its mobile download platform.

Universal, EMI and Sony (but not the increasingly stay at home Warner) will all provide DRM-free music to Vodafone’s download service, which provides tracks to both your PC and, crucially, your mobile phone.

While web-based download services have all been busy moving over to DRM-free tracks for over a year now, the mobile music domain has been a little slower to lose the restrictive DRM technology that limits the transfer of tracks once they’ve been bought.

Vodafone’s latest deals means that it will be able to start selling mobile downloads in a DRM-free format, instead of the DRMed Microsoft WMA file format it has previously used. The phone firm will also offer anyone who has previously bought DRMed tracks from their download store the option to swap them for DRM-free tracks at no extra cost.

Confirming the new deals and his firm’s new DRM-free music offer, Vodafone’s Internet Services Director Pieter Knook told CMU: “Music is central to many of our customers’ lives. By Vodafone pioneering DRM-free on mobile and offering MP3s on PC, they will now have the freedom to download tracks from their favourite artists without any device restrictions allowing them to experience their music however they want it, wherever they are”.

Reps from each of the participating majors lined up too, and said the following…

Universal’s Digital SVP Rob Wells: “Vodafone has been a business partner of Universal Music for six years. This new deal shows how serious Vodafone is about music, and opens up new opportunities for both companies – but, more importantly, for consumers and artists”.

Sony Global Digital Strategy bloke Thomas Hesse: “We are thrilled that this agreement will provide Vodafone’s millions of customers in Europe with access to music by our popular local artists and global superstars. Vodafone’s convenient mobile and PC solution gives fans another great way to integrate music into their daily lives and forge an even stronger connection with the artists they love”.

EMI Digital Business supreme Douglas Merrill: “EMI has long been a proponent of DRM-free music because of the benefits it brings to fans and so we are very supportive of this initiative from Vodafone. With its international reach and commitment to music, Vodafone is taking a major step forward for our industry by offering consumers more flexibility and choice”.