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New Verizon V Cast Music service

updated 03:45 pm EST, Fri January 6, 2006

Verizon sells mobile music

Verizon Wireless has announced that it will offer a , dubbed "V Cast Music," allowing subscribers to download songs directly to their phones for $1.99 each. The move stands to threaten Apple's iTunes Music Store which sells music online for 99-cents per track, but cannot stream the songs over-the-air to mobile handsets. The new service--set to launch on January 16th--will be powered by Microsoft technology and give cell phone users the ability to build a music library on their phone without the need for a personal computer, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We believe this is a game-changer," Verizon COO Lowell McAdam said. "To have one device that does music and all the other things you can do on a cell phone today, that's big."

Songs downloaded to phones include a second copy for the customer's computer, and songs can be downloaded for the PC exclusively for 99-cents each, matching Apple's iTunes Music Store pricing.

Subscribers will need to either sign up for Verizon's $15-per-month V Cast service--offering unlimited downloads, internet access, and multimedia content--or pay the carrier's individual data download fees in addition to paying for downloaded music. The service currently boasts over 500,000 songs, and will offer one million tracks in several weeks.

Customers must also purchase a $30 starter kit, as well as a removable memory card costing from $40 for a 256KB card to $110 for a 1GB version. Cards with 2GB capacities are expected to be unveiled next month.

Sprint and Amp'd recently launched similar services, streaming songs to users phones for $2.50 and 99-cents each, respectively.

Verizon has taken steps that it believes will ensure its new service is competitive, undercutting Sprint's hefty $2.50 price tag and allowing users to turn their purchased songs into ring tones and ring backs.

The mobile music business is expected to grow at a rapid pace, but Analyst Albert Lin wondered how successful over-the-air downloads will be if they are priced at twice the cost of PC downloads. The analyst said that in most cases, users will likely avoid the higher-priced alternative and download straight to their computer, or transfer songs from their CD collection to their phones, according to the report.

"The industry hopes that for some reason the 99-cents-per-song price would move to something higher in the mobile world. But you're almost forcing people to buy songs on their PC or rip it from a CD and then synchronize it to their device. That's what people already do on their iPod," Lin said.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. fmalloy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Wow, great...

    So I have to pay $15 per month, shell out $30 for a "starter kit", $110 for the flash card, and spend $1.99 so I can download tunes onto my phone without needing a computer? Oh, wow.

    Battery life already stinks with cell phones, now we won't be able to do any talking because we're using all the battery listening to music...?

    Geez, Verizon...you really *are* greedy aren't you? Do you really expect this to fly? Stick to improving your coverage and quality and service and stop trying to get into the music and video business. You'll fail.

  1. LordJohnWhorfin

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I lost track...

    How many iPod/iTMS killers have we seen so far? Sony alone has introduced at least three or four in the past two years. Charging more than twice the price of the established leader is seldom a successful marketing strategy, it's not really a question of whether it will fail but more of how long Verizon will be willing to pony up the marketing money to keep this ridiculous effort afloat. My bet: next year at the same time, they will make a big announcement with an Apple joint venture, and they'll have quietly sacked the VP in charge of this charade.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Another Failure

    What I don't get is how these people don't get it. Managing my music on a phone, yeah, oh boy, better get my iPod on eBay before I can get rid of it. Only the elite geek would even consider this. Almost everyone has a mobile phone and almost everyone only want's it for for that reason. Verizon is my service, and they have pretty good service area's, but they also kinda suck. They disable features (Moto815) and try to squeeze you with picture phones, as if using up airtime minutes was not enough. Here they go again.

    iTunes and iPod seems like such a no brainer now, but nobody else did it before Apple. When I see something like this, I begin to see how only Apple could have pulled it off; Apple sees the bigger pictures, other companies only seem to see the bottom line and therefore never look up and look around.

  1. esc

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    this is die

    To keep transmission and storage requirements down, the music on the phone is coded at 32kbps. About FM radio quality. You also get better sounding files for your PC, but they won't play on the phone ...

    The target customer is willing to spend way to much on a file, with a bad user interface and terrible sounding music. Getting a list of the people who go for this would be valuable - it is hard creating a direct marketing list of barefoot pilgrims ...

  1. jbelkin

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    MS is at it again

    The backlash is already beginning. MS' v-cast software auto converts your mp3's to WMA files - and no way back ... also Mac and linux users are out of luck since it's based on WMP 10.

    Rule #1 - never let MS near your customers.

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