AT&T Adds Music Downloads

By Joseph Palenchar On Aug 6 2007 - 6:00am

AT&T Wireless teamed up with subscription-based music-download site eMusic to offer the carrier's first over-the-air music-download service.

AT&T is offering eMusic's selection of independent-artist music over-the-air to AT&T cellphone subscribers in the unprotected MP3 format. AT&T subscribers getr the ability to preview and purchase music via their wireless devices from a catalog of 2.7 million songs, said by AT&T to be the nation's largest catalog available through a wireless carrier.

Sprint and Verizon also offer over-air music downloads, and their catalogs include music from the big four music companies.

For a subscription fee of $7.49/month, AT&T customers get five downloads per month, and additional downloads of five songs are available for the same price. Songs purchased by cellphone are sent to the user's wireless handset, and AT&T makes a duplicate copy available for download to the user's PC.

eMusic Mobile will be initially available on the Samsung a717, a727, new versions of the Samsung SYNC and the Nokia N75. More compatible phones are planned. Consumers do not have to subscribe to the service to preview songs, AT&T noted. Previewing and/or downloading, however, require the use of a separate data plan.

The service differentiates itself from the competition "through its ease of use, subscription pricing model and the ability to play these tracks in any MP3 player," said Mark Collins, AT&T Wireless' consumer data services VP.

David Pakman, eMusic president and CEO. Claimed the service "will expand the audience for mobile music beyond the youth market by offering an alternative to the mainstream pop hits that have so far dominated over-the-air music." eMusic artists include Paul McCartney, Miles Davis and new independent stars such as Spoon and Arcade Fire.

Select AT&T phones already have the ability to play songs transferred from a PC.

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