Omnifone & ISPs to fight piracy with new music service


MUMBAI: Music service provider Omnifone has launched MusicStation Next Generation, a service which gives broadband users legitimate unlimited access to the world’s music on their Mac, PC and set-top box.

In partnership with internet service providers (ISPs) and cable companies, the service heralds a new era in home entertainment, delivering unlimited access to both music and music videos direct to a broadband user’s living room.

ISPs and cable companies are under increasing national and international governmental pressure to eradicate piracy over their networks. MusicStation Next Generation enables broadband providers to introduce legal unlimited music services.

Omnifone has international licensing agreements in place for unlimited music downloads or streaming with all four major music labels and thousands of independents, providing users with unlimited access to a vast catalogue of music.

The IFPI estimates that illegal peer-to-peer file sharing and music piracy accounted for 95% of music downloads in 2008 with 40 billion tracks downloaded illegally worldwide. In some European territories, peer-to-peer piracy accounts for as much as 50% of total internet traffic carried by ISPs and cable companies.

In the UK a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the music industry and ISPs to try to resolve the issue of illegal file sharing while industry commentators think a key underlying theme of the UK Government’s interim Digital Britain report published last month is the push for digital content to be subscription based. Other countries are expected to follow suit, with government pressure to stem the tide of piracy increasing throughout the European Union (EU).

"Tens of millions of European consumers are engaged in music piracy every day. Whilst government pressure is growing, we also need to deliver alternatives that recognise the needs and desires of the YouTube generation," says Omnifone CEO Rob Lewis. "With today’s announcement, Omnifone is offering consumers something better than piracy. MusicStation Next Generation gives consumers legitimate unlimited access to the world’s music, in audio and video format, direct to their living room, through set-top box or personal computer, in partnership with their ISP or cable company. Broadband providers can deliver a better music experience; a legal alternative to piracy that differentiates their consumer proposition."

MusicStation Next Generation music powered services are expected to be bundled with monthly subscriber plans, as well as being offered to existing subscribers on a Pay As You Go (PAYG) basis.