Three 'big four' record labels sign with Sony Ericsson
Yesterday, Swedish mobile phone company Sony Ericsson announced deals had been inked with 10 major record labels, adding over 5 million tracks to the company's forthcoming over-the-air download music store.
The new partner labels include: Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, EMI, and The Orchard, as well asIODA (independent online distribution alliance), mobile marketing company The PocketGroup, South Asia's Hungama, European digital download label X5 Music, Scandanavian major label Bonnier Amigo, and UK-based mobile music source Vidzone. Deals with additional regional labels are currently being negotiated.
Sony Ericsson offers over 20 handsets specifically designed for music consumption, capitalizing on the Walkman name that initially popularized portable listening. To coincide with services the company already offers with these handsets, such as PlayNow, PlayNow Uncut, and TrackID, Sony Ericsson will be launching PlayNow Arena in the second quarter of 2008.
PlayNow Arena will be a wireless music store integrated with unique applications such as TrackID, which can identify songs simply by having the phone "hear" them.
While three of the "big four" major labels are present in this deal, Universal Music Group is not among them. Earlier this year, that label was working on its own music store called Total Music. It also aligned with handset manufacturer Nokia's Comes With Music, which essentially offers a subscription to Universal's entire catalog, subsidized, in part, by the phone's cost.
Even without Universal's content having been provided at the time of its launch, Sony Ericsson will provide sound competition to Verizon's V CAST -- which offers content from all major labels, though managed, and not transferrable to other devices -- and even iTunes and Amazon.com.