Ericsson, Sony launch wireless music service

Sweden’s Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and the German subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Inc. are teaming to deliver music to wireless devices in the German-speaking regions of Europe.

The new digital mobile music service, M-USE, will feature tracks from Sony Music’s current international and local artist roster as well as from its archives, to be delivered using technology supplied by Ericsson, the companies said Wednesday in a joint statement.

The new service, developed jointly by Ericsson and Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH & Co. KG in Berlin, will allow mobile phone customers to send and receive 30-second music clips, together with information about the music and the artist, according to Balthasar Schramm, president of Sony Music Germany.

“The central service is based on an multimedia messaging service (MMS) platform,” he said. “What’s really new about our approach is that we’re providing mobile operators with a plug-and-play system, requiring them only to install some software at their end. We take care of everything else.”

While Sony provides the content, Ericsson delivers the technology and the operators the service to their customers, Schramm said. All three will take a percentage of the revenue, he said, declining to provide details of the percentage cuts or the price of the service to customers. Operators will be responsible for billing.

Although the M-USE service will not provide music downloads, it could someday provide music video clips “depending on bandwidth availability,” Schramm said.

Sony and Ericsson chose Germany to roll out the new service because of its size and the popularity of MMS in the market, Schramm said. After testing the waters in Germany and the smaller Austrian and Swiss markets, the companies will look at other European countries, he said. Schramm said he expects to have some German operators on board by the second quarter.