Ericsson turns to Napster for one-stop music shop

Napster has announced a partnership with Ericsson to supply mobile operators with a one-stop shop for music tracks, ringtones and artist images to sell on to their customers.

The service includes Napster Mobile, an ‘integrated’ application for mobile handsets that mimics the look-and-feel of Napster’s PC software, with features such as top tracks of the day and new releases. It also has a recommendation engine to offer content suggestions based upon each customer’s personal musical tastes.

Ericsson will provide the hosting infrastructure.

‘Napster Mobile enables wireless operators to offer their customers a superior music experience from a recognised digital music leader,’ said Brad Duea, Napster president. ‘We are confident that the combination of Napster’s music expertise with Ericsson’s mobile music solution and wireless industry proficiency will appeal to wireless carriers and customers alike.’

Napster claims that the service is also the first mobile offering with fully-integrated dual-delivery, so that consumers use their handset to request content, a downloadable copy is sent directly to the phone and an additional copy is simultaneously sent to their PC with all the additional functionality that this implies, including CD burning and transferring to (non-iPod) portable players.

‘Operators gain access to one of the biggest digital music brand in the world through Napster Mobile,’ said Hans Vestberg, Executive vice president Global Services Ericsson. ‘We feel confident that the service will allow mobile operators to seize opportunities for digital music on the mobile phone and PC that they might not have had access to before.’

No mobile operator has yet confirmed that it agrees by announcing a launch date, but Napster insists that there is ‘great interest’ among operators worldwide.

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