Omnifone rolls out music service for broadband

UK music provider Omnifone, which offers unlimited music downloads to cell phone users, on Monday extended its reach to the broadband arena. A new service called MusicStation Next Generation will let European consumers stream songs and music videos to their computers and television set-top boxes.

Omnifone is teaming with Internet service providers and cable companies to provide the service, but it did not yet name those partners. It did say it is in talks with satellite provider British Sky Broadcasting.

At a time when ISPs and cable providers are under increasing pressure to eradicate piracy over their networks, Omnifone is playing up the legal-download aspect of its new service.

"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 recognize the needs and desires of the YouTube generation," said Rob Lewis, CEO of Omnifone. "With today's announcement, Omnifone is offering consumers something better than piracy."

Omnifone says it has international licensing agreements in place for unlimited music downloads or streaming with all four major music labels (Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI, and Warner Music Group), as well as thousands of independents.

Omnifone already provides unlimited music services for mobile carriers including Vodafone and Telenor. It said its MusicStation Next Generation services are expected to be bundled with monthly subscriber plans, and also offered to existing subscribers on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Omnifone is demonstrating the MusicStation Next Generation service on PCs and set-top boxes for the first time at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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