Sony Ericsson launches PlayNow plus

Sony Ericsson has announced the launch of PlayNow plus, a super fast, high quality music download service for Sony Ericsson customers, available for use on both phones and PCs. The service is due to launch commercially with operator Telenor in Sweden in the fourth quarter of this year, with further roll-outs around the world beginning in early 2009.

A special edition of the Sony Ericsson W902 Walkman phone will be the first product released with an integrated PlayNow plus service.

PlayNow plus is due to set a new standard for the unlimited mobile music experience, with unrivalled download speeds, high quality audio and access to the largest music catalogue of any unlimited download service.

The service draws from Sony Ericsson’s collaboration with Omnifone and licensing terms have been agreed with all major international music labels, including EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music, as well as thousands of local music labels.

PlayNow plus will guarantee truly unlimited, all you can eat access to millions of music tracks. While in the service, subscribers will be able to recommend their music tastes to others in the PlayNow plus community, and at the end of their contract they will keep a number of tracks – DRM-free – from their most played favourites.

Martin Blomkvist, director and head of global content acquisition and partner management at Sony Ericsson, stated: “Omnifone was the clear partner of choice for PlayNow plus. As the leading independent provider of unlimited music services, Omnifone has enabled us to deliver the most innovative and attractive solution for our operator partners and end users”.

The PlayNow plus-enabled mobiles will come bundled with up to 1,000 pre-loaded tracks at purchase and, at the end of the initial subscription period, will enable consumers to retain a specific number of their favourite tracks in a DRM-free MP3 format for use on their next phone, desktop computer or any other digital music device.

“Omnifone’s partnership with Sony Ericsson for PlayNow plus will drive global mass market uptake of legal unlimited digital music downloads on mobile,” said Rob Lewis, CEO at Omnifone. “Walkman is the world’s most iconic portable music brand and Omnifone is partnering with
Sony Ericsson to bring a fully integrated unlimited music downloads service to millions of Walkman mobile users, with the potential to increase operator music revenues whilst providing unlimited music to consumers, with the ability for consumers to convert their favourite tracks and keep them DRM-free forever.”

PlayNow plus is designed as the world’s easiest unlimited music service to manage as whatever you do on either your phone or your PC may be reflected on the other device. To add to the discovery and community aspects of PlayNow plus, TrackID charts, generated by Sony Ericsson consumers around the world, are also included. To kick-start the PlayNow plus experience right out of the box, Sony
Ericsson plans to include, as part of the service, up to 1000 of the recent most popular tracks, both locally and globally, with each PlayNow plus phone.

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