San Antonio — 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 get 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 a duplicate copy becomes available for download to the user's PC.
"This service, which is as unique as the independent artists found in the eMusic catalog, 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, vice president of Consumer Data Services for AT&T's wireless unit.
"eMusic Mobile 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," claimed David Pakman, eMusic president and CEO. eMusic artists include Paul McCartney and Miles Davis and new independent stars such as Spoon and Arcade Fire.
eMusic Mobile will be initially available on the Samsung a717, a727, new versions of the Samsung SYNC, and the Nokia N75. More compatible phones will be available. Customers can access the eMusic wireless site in just three clicks from the compatible handsets and do not have to subscribe to the service to preview songs, although AT&T said it strongly recommends an unlimited data plan before previewing tracks.
Select AT&T phones already have the ability to play songs transferred from a PC.