DRM-free music service a hit for Vodafone

Vodafone is claiming leadership of Europe’s mobile music market, after gathering almost half-a-million paying subscribers to its DRM-free services since March 2009.
The carrier credits its clear pricing policies for helping it sign up 450,000 users to its music services. Subscribers can opt for a monthly bundle that allows them to download 10 tracks, or a variety of all-you-can-eat packages.
Some 100,000 subscribers signed up in December alone in Vodafone’s eight key European markets – Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the UK.
“Vodafone is starting to prove the significance of its place in the music industry,” Lee Epting, director of content at Vodafone Internet Services, states.
Epting predicts that increasing use of smartphones would drive continued growth in subscriber numbers, and pledged to work hard with music industry partners “to develop new and innovative music services.”
The first step towards those new services will be to grow the catalogue of music from the current two million tracks to six million over the course of 2010.
Vodafone began offering subscription music services in March 2009, when it signed deals with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, and Universal Music, which provide DRM-free MP3 content. That means customers can download tracks to their mobile phone or desktop PC, and transfer the content between the two.
Warner Music Group joined the initial trio in September 2009. Edward Daugan, SVP of commercial strategy for Warner Music Europe, says Vodafone’s figures are “encouraging,” and show what can be achieved when record labels and mobile carriers offer “easy, instant, access to content.”