Omnifone in International Partnership to Power Sony Ericsson Unlimited Music Phones

24/09/2008 08:06

PR Newswire

LONDON, September 24 /PRNewswire/ --

- Sony Ericsson Chooses Omnifone to Power PlayNow(TM) Plus Unlimited Music Service

- Omnifone and Sony Ericsson Agree Licensing Terms With all Four Majors and Leading Independents

- Revolutionary Keep Your Favourites Functionality Lets Consumers Keep a Specific Number of Tracks, in MP3 Format, for no Extra Charge

Omnifone today announces it has signed an international
strategic partnership with Sony Ericsson, to power a wide range of unlimited music phones. The service, PlayNow(TM) plus, is due to debut with Telenor in Sweden later this year.

Martin Blomkvist, Director and Head of Global Content
Acquisition & Partner Management, Sony Ericsson stated, "Omnifone was the clear partner of choice for PlayNow(TM) plus. As the leading independent provider of unlimited music services, Omnifone has enabled us to deliver the most innovative and attractive solution for our operator partners and end-users."

The PlayNow(TM) plus-enabled mobiles will come bundled with up to 1,000 pre-loaded tracks at purchase and, at the end of the initial subscription period, will enable consumers to retain a specific number of their favourite tracks in a DRM-free MP3 format for use on their next phone, desktop computer or any other digital music device.

"Omnifone's partnership with Sony Ericsson for PlayNow(TM) plus will drive global mass market uptake of legal unlimited digital music downloads on mobile," said Rob Lewis, CEO of Omnifone. "Walkman(TM) is the world's most iconic portable music brand and Omnifone is partnering with Sony Ericsson to bring a fully integrated unlimited music downloads service to millions of Walkman(TM) mobile users, with the potential to increase operator music revenues whilst providing unlimited music to consumers, with the ability for consumers to convert their favourite tracks and keep them DRM-free forever."

PlayNow(TM) plus consumers will also be able to download unlimited amounts of music to their desktop computer, using PlayNow(TM) plus Desktop, which synchronises effortlessly with the PlayNow(TM) plus mobile experience, using broadband and 3G/HSDPA connectivity.

PlayNow(TM) plus over-the-air music downloads will utilise the state-of-the-art high quality eAAC Plus format, with very fast track downloads. PlayNow(TM) plus is integrated into Sony Ericsson's TrackID(TM) music recognition service enabling unlimited direct-to-device music sampling and downloading for no additional cost. PlayNow(TM) plus is also fully compatible with the Sony Ericsson PlayNow(TM) a la carte service which allows consumers to purchase individual music tracks DRM-free, on a track by track basis.

International pre-licensing and DRM free tracks for
PlayNow(TM) plus

Omnifone and Sony Ericsson have agreed licensing terms with Universal Music Group, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, EMI Music, Warner Music Group and leading independents for DRM-free Keep Your Favourites (KYF) for Sony Ericsson handsets with unlimited access to a vast international content catalogue, localised for each individual market.

Rob Wells, Senior Vice President, Digital, Universal Music Group International stated; "We believe the combination of Omnifone's leading edge unlimited music capability paired with Sony Ericsson's popular range of music phones will have lasting implications for the delivery of digital music services globally. Consumers will have the ability to download, play and share music, on the brand of devices which were ultimately responsible for starting the mobile music revolution."

"The PlayNow(TM) plus service offers music fans an innovative and exciting new way to explore SONY BMG's rich catalogue," commented Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business and U.S. Sales, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. "With such a vast collection of songs accessible through their mobile phones, consumers will have the opportunity to enjoy their favorites and also discover new music and new artists. We think this service is a great solution for consumers because it makes the listening and discovery experience more fun than ever before."

Ian Whitfield, Vice President, Digital Business Development for EMI Music: "As the digital music market continues to evolve, EMI's role is to bring artists and their fans closer together by giving consumers innovative, effective and legal ways to enjoy our artists' music how they want to and PlayNow(TM) plus is a perfect example of this. With the experience and reach of Sony Ericsson behind it, PlayNow(TM) plus is a very exciting new service for music consumers and we're very pleased to give it our support."

Eric Daugan, Vice President, Digital Business, Warner Music EMEA, commented, "Sony Ericsson and Omnifone have both separately pioneered the evolution of mobile music, so we're delighted to now be working with their combined expertise on this highly innovative service. By bringing together a simple, compelling user experience with first class music-enabled devices, PlayNow(TM) plus is a hugely attractive consumer offer and represents an exciting step forward for mobile entertainment. This wide-ranging music service will be a powerful platform through which fans will be empowered to quickly and easily discover, explore and enjoy our artists' music wherever they are, whenever they want."

Notes to Editors

About Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications was established as a 50:50 joint venture by Sony and Ericsson in October 2001, with global corporate functions located in London. The company serves the worldwide communications market with innovative and feature-rich mobile phones, accessories and PC-cards, and it has R? sites in Europe, Japan, China, India and America. Sony Ericsson is the title sponsor of the Women's Tennis Association, and works with the Association to promote the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in over 80 cities during the year.

About Omnifone

Omnifone is the global leader in the provision of unlimited music download services for device vendors and mobile network operators. Partners include the likes of Vodafone, Telenor, 3 Hong Kong, Vodacom, LG and Sony Ericsson, who are rolling out Omnifone's multi-award winning unlimited music download services across the world. In 2007 Omnifone won the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) Music Service Award, Red Herring EMEA & Global 100 Awards, and in 2008, the Juniper Research Future Mobile Award's Gold Award for Mobile Music, Best Mobile Internet Service at the Mobile Industry Awards, and the most prestigious award in mobile music; Best Mobile Music Service Award at the GSMA Global Mobile Awards, part of Mobile World Congress 2008. Omnifone CEO Rob Lewis is PwC UK Technology, Innovation & Growth Awards 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year. The company is based at Island Studios, London with regional HQs in Asia Pacific. For further information please visit;

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group is the world's leading music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 77 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, the industry's leading global music publishing operation.

Universal Music Group's record labels include Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Disa, Emarcy, Fonovisa, Interscope Geffen A? Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, Machete Music, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor Records, Universal Motown Republic Group, Universal Music Latino, Universal Records South, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which includes the last 100 years of the world's most popular artists and their recordings. UMG's catalog is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, its new media and technologies division; Bravado, its merchandising company; Twenty-First Artists, its full service management division; and Helter Skelter, its live music agency.

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi, a global media and communications company.


SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT is a global recorded music joint venture with a roster of current artists that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars, as well as a vast catalogue that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. SONY BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann A.G. and 50% owned by Sony Corporation of America.

About EMI Music

EMI Music is the recorded music division of EMI Group Limited, one of the world's leading music companies. EMI Music represents artists spanning all musical tastes and genres. Its record labels include Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note, Capitol, Capitol Nashville, EMI Classics, EMI CMG, EMI Records, EMI Televisa Music, Manhattan, Mute, Parlophone and Virgin.

About Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group became the only stand-alone music company to be publicly traded in the United States in May 2005. With its broad roster of new stars and legendary artists, Warner Music Group is home to a collection of the best-known record labels in the music industry including Asylum, Atlantic, Bad Boy, Cordless, East West, Elektra, Lava, Nonesuch, Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Rykodisc, Sire, Warner Bros. and Word. Warner Music International, a leading company in national and international repertoire, operates through numerous international affiliates and licensees in more than 50 countries. Warner Music Group also includes Warner/Chappell Music, one of the world's leading music publishers, with a catalog of more than one million copyrights worldwide.

Tim Hadley
Director, Corporate Communications
M +44-(0)7976410001

Omnifone: Tim Hadley, Director, Corporate Communications, M +44-(0)7976410001, E