Cingular Launches Mobile Music Service

Cingular Wireless today announced Cingular Music a new wireless service set to launch November 6 which will make music offerings from Napster, Yahoo Music, eMusic, and XM Satellite Radio available to Cingular mobile phone users with compatible handsets. Each service will be available on a subscription basis for a monthly fee, and together comprise the largest collection of mobile music services currently offered by any wireless carrier.

“Cingular Music is our answer to a fragmented marketplace that until now has not fully taken into account the user experience,” says Jim Ryan, Cingular’s VP of consumer data services, in a release. “Music has become such an integral part of our lives and many consumers want a simple and integrated mobile music experience that gives them access to all things music—including songs, videos, news, data and information. With Cingular Music, we are offering our customers one click access to their music, their way.”

Cingular is touting Cingular Music as “seamlessly compatible” with a user’s computer-based music library by virtue of teaming with Napster and Yahoo Music—which sell tracks protected with Microsoft’s Windows Media DRM—and eMusic, which offers music in unencumbered MP3 format. Users will be able to pick and choose services which appeal to them on a montly subscription basis.

Napster subscriptions will run $14.95 a month, enabling users to load compatible phones with music by connecting it to their PC and downloading tracks from Napster’s library of over 2 million tracks. With the launch of Cingular Music, Cingular and Napster will offer a free 60-day trial so users can get a feel for side-loading music onto their phones; users will be able to purchase songs outright for $0.99 apiece.

Yahoo Music subscriptions will run as low as $11.95 a month, and operates on a similar principle: users download music to their PC and sideload it to their phone. Purchasers of Sony Ericsson W810i or W300i phones will find an in-box offer to side-load up to 50 tracks from eMusic’s MP3-encoded catalog. Users own the tracks—rather than renting them—so the songs are theirs even if they opt out of Cingular Music. Cingular will also be partnering with XM Satellite Radio to make 25 commercial-free music streams available on Cingular handsets for $8.99 a month.

The entire Cingular Music offering comes together as a single application on user’s handsets, enabling users to listen to music, shop for music, enjoy music videos, and stream music from sources like XM Satellite Radio or MobiRadio, depending on the handset. The Cingular Music application will also offer MusicID, a music recognition service which can identify a recorded song, compare it to a database of over 3 million songs, and provide the name of the track and the artist. (And, of course, Cingular will then be happy to sell you the track or, if available, a ringtone based on it.) Cingular Music will also let users access music and entertainment news, as well as run secondary applications like MobilCast and Hip Hop Official.

Five Cingular handsets will feature the dedicated Cingular Music menu—the new Cingular Sync by Samsung, the LG CU500, the Sony Ericsson W810i, the Sony Ericsson W300i, and the Cingular 3125.

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