Vodafone announced that it has signed deals with the world’s largest record companies Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Music to offer their tracks and albums DRM free (without digital rights management) across Vodafone markets for both mobile phones and PCs.
The new deals are the first of their kind for a mobile network operator enabling dual delivery of DRM free music to a wide range of mobile phones and PCs with no need to sideload or synchronize. With over a million tracks available from every music genre, for the first time customers will be able to play and enjoy music bought from these three labels via the Vodafone Music store* without any limit to the type of device provided they belong to the customer.
In addition, those customers who have already bought tracks or albums from Universal Music, Sony Music or EMI in WMA format (with DRM) will be able to upgrade them to MP3 at no extra charge within the existing download allowance. DRM free music will be available through a number of Vodafone countries by the summer and will complement Vodafone’s current music offerings.
“Music is central to many of our customers’ lives,” said Pieter Knook, Vodafone Internet Services Director. “By Vodafone pioneering DRM free on mobile and offering MP3s on PC, they will now have the freedom to download tracks from their favourite artists without any device restrictions allowing them to experience their music however they want it, wherever they are.”
“Vodafone has been a business partner of Universal Music for six years,” said Rob Wells, SVP, Digital, at Universal Music Group International. “This new deal shows how serious Vodafone is about music, and opens up new opportunities for both companies – but, more importantly, for consumers and artists.”
“We are thrilled that this agreement will provide Vodafone’s millions of customers in Europe with access to music by our popular local artists and global superstars,” commented Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business, U.S. Sales, Corporate Strategy, Sony Music Entertainment. “Vodafone’s convenient mobile and PC solution gives fans another great way to integrate music into their daily lives and forge an even stronger connection with the artists they love.”
“EMI has long been a proponent of DRM free music because of the benefits it brings to fans and so we are very supportive of this initiative from Vodafone,” said Douglas Merrill, EMI Music’s COO of New Music and President, Digital Business. “With its international reach and commitment to music, Vodafone is taking a major step forward for our industry by offering consumers more flexibility and choice.”
* Vodafone Music store is powered by RealNetworks.
DRM free services will be available in Germany, Italy, UK, Spain and New Zealand by the summer. Australia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Turkey will follow in due course, along with services provided via Vodafone’s partner networks in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Iceland, Slovenia and Switzerland.