Vodafone to offer DRM-free music service

MUMBAI: Vodafone has signed deals with record companies like 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 side load or synchronize. With over a million tracks available from every music genre, 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. 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," said Vodafone Internet Services director Pieter Knook.

"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. 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," said EMI Music COO New Music and president Digital Business Douglas Merrill.

"Vodafone has been a business partner of Universal Music for six years. 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," said Universal Music Group International SVP digital Rob Wells.

"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. 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," added Sony Music Entertainment president Global Digital Business U.S. Sales Corporate Strategy Thomas Hesse.

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