Boom time for Vodafone's music service, while Nokia drops CWM for X6 flagship handset

Vodafone is claiming to be the No. 1 provider of music subscription services in Europe since it signed DRM-free deals with all four major labels in 2009. The company says that more than 100,000 customers signed up to the service in December 2009 bringing the total close to 500,000.

The uptake, according to Vodafone, is being driven both by monthly 10-track MP3 bundles, as well as from ‘all you can eat' unlimited access subscription services. The MP3 bundles can be played on mobiles and PC and customers will typically get 10 tracks per month for around €5. AYCE services are offered both as a stand-alone product as well as bundled with data tariffs. When bundled with data, customers can access the entire catalogue of over 2 million tracks for as little as €3 a month.

Vodafone has spent time developing its mobile music strategy starting almost a year ago by signing agreements with Universal Music, Sony Music and EMI Group to offer their music DRM-free. In September, the company then added Warner Music to its catalogue bringing the total number of tracks on offer to 2 million with the aim to increase this to 6 million this year.

The company operates a number of music subscription services, including Vodafone Music, in partnership with RealNetworks and Omnifone-powered Music Station.

Meanwhile, Nokia has confirmed it will drop its struggling Comes-with-Music service from the new version of its flagship music phone X6, hoping a one-third cheaper price tag would boost sales of the model. "This was an expected move, in our view, the early demand for the bundled X6 has been soft," said analyst Tero Kuittinen from MKM Partners. "The lack of confidence in CWM has kept European operators from marketing it aggressively."

For more on this story:
Mobile Europe and Reuters

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