Vodafone Australia today launched MusicStation, which the company says is Australia’s first unlimited mobile music download service.
Exclusive to Vodafone in Australia, MusicStation is a mobile service that provides completely unlimited access to a catalogue of more than 1 million music tracks. It bucks the trend of current music download services, which often have a pay-per-track system and incur excessive data charges.
Developed by Omnifone, MusicStation costs just $2.75 per week for unlimited tracks and no download fees. The fee is charged as an extra on Vodafone’s monthly bills. Users don't require a computer or an Internet connection.
“MusicStation gives millions of mobile users the freedom to download as much music as they want, almost anywhere, at any time, direct to a wide range of mobiles”, said Rob Lewis, Omnifone's CEO.
MusicStation also has community features, with users able to create their own profile and share music with other subscribers. This enables the service to provide 'most popular' download lists, in addition to the latest Australian chart music. The service is compatible with a range of handsets, with Vodafone planning to make it available for even more phones in the near future.
"Today's announcement is a huge leap forward for the Australian music industry", said Vodafone Australia's Karen Paterson. "Vodafone is changing the way people experience music on the move."
MusicStation files are downloaded in the eAAC+ format, with the bit rate varying depending on the handset being used. It is strictly a mobile-only service and files are DRM-protected and can’t be played on other devices. The service relies on a 3G mobile connection and tracks are played using MusicStation’s own music software. The service has a tabbed-style interface with four main menus — home, buzz, line-up and playing.
Major record labels already signed up to MusicStation include Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner, and a number of independent and local artists are contributing to the catalogue.
Despite the launch of MusicStation, Vodafone Australia has no plans to scrap its regular music service on Vodafone live!, saying MusicStation is “compatible with Vodafone’s existing music service”. Like most mobile music services, Vodafone’s regular system utilises a pay-per-track billing system and incurs download fees.