Battle's on for Sweden's Mobile Music Market
Well, as far as mobile music is concerned, Sweden is where it’s at this December. No sooner had Telenor become the first operator to participate in Sony Ericsson’s PlayNow plus offering, than rival TeliaSonera has hit back with the launch of its Telia Musik service.
From an analyst’s perspective, this could be an absolutely fascinating duel, as while both services provide consumers with unlimited full-track downloads for the period of their subscriptions – and both cost SEK99 ($12.35) per month after an initial free trial period - the business models underpinning them are markedly different.
The TeliaSonera model is the more traditional, in that consumers can download DRM-protected tracks to both their PC and mobile: if customers then choose to cancel their monthly subscription to the service, they lose access to the music.
However, if a customer opts to leave Telenor’s PlayNow plus service, her or she retains to retain a 100 of their favourite tracks in a DRM-free MP3 format for use on their next phone, desktop computer or any other digital music device. But the key difference with PlayNow plus is that the offering is centred around the handset: Sony Ericsson’s Walkman W902, the first handset to be bundled with the offering, comes preloaded with 1,000 tracks –meaning that service users don’t necessarily have to spend hours searching for the favourite songs as a good number of them are likely to be on the handset in the first place.
Unless, that is, you’re me. Casting an eye over my iTunes playlist here, I’m not so sure that there’ll be much Fairport Convention or Jefferson Airplane making the Big 1,000, let alone Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, even when the service arrives in the UK next year. Because clearly – and rightly - the 1,000 preloaded tracks have been selected by Sony Ericsson with the aim of making it attractive to a mass audience. So while it's not necessarily great news for folk rock fans like me, it's potentially a very interesting offering for the majority of mobile music lovers...