MOBILE MUSIC

MAJOR MAKERS MAKE FOR MOBILE MUSIC
M-Buzz is “yet another building block in Sony Ericsson’s extensive mobile music offering to music fans worldwide”.
In practice it’s a music download service that extends the PlayNow ringtone and mobile game offering to include full-length tracks. It is being positioned as a promotional space for new and not-yet-big music artists, and initially at least that means artists from the Sony/ATV Music Publishing roster – the first and so far the only publisher to have
signed up.
M-Buzz combines PlayNow downloading with a web presence (www.m-buzz.com). Music fans can get featured artists’ tracks, videos, biographies, gig schedules and other content.
“Today’s announcement is another great example of the cooperative spirit that exists between Sony Ericsson and other Sony Group companies, which gives us a unique opportunity to bring appealing, innovative content to our mobile phones,” said Miles Flint, President of Sony Ericsson.
The logic is clear: Ericsson has the backend technology and already powers several download services, Sony owns a chunk of the music publisher Sony BMG and already operates the Connect digital media distribution service, and of course the two have Walkman-branded phones.
Meanwhile Samsung has just announced that it will be launching a “state-of-the-art” digital music service along with a new line of “innovative portable media players” through a partnership with MusicNet.
MusicNet, a leading white-label digital entertainment services provider, will power the service and provide the underlying technologies and content library for Samsung’s new subscription digital music service and download stores in the United Kingdom, Germany and France (more countries to follow after the initial launch).
Nokia has already outlined its own plans for music downloads. As we reported last month, it has bought the US-based digital music distributor Loudeye for $60m. “With this acquisition completed, Nokia is on target to deliver the best fully integrated mobile music experience to our customers during 2007,” said Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president and general manager, for Multimedia at Nokia. “Our vision is to enable people to access all the music they want, anywhere, anytime and at a reasonable cost; this is driving the development of our music offering.”
iTunes is the probable target for all of them. As Jake Saunders of ABI Research put it when commenting on the Loudeye deal: “To become a global leader in mobile music, Nokia needs to move onto the hallowed turf dominated by Apple’s iPod.” Apple’s dominance of the portable music experience stems not just from the iPod’s functionality, ease of use, and cool design, but also its tight integration with the music delivery platform. “In many respects the iTunes brand is as robust and well appreciated as the iPod device.”