Verizon Launches Wireless V CAST Music

Verizon Wireless has announced V CAST Music a new wireless music service which will enable Verizon customers to select and download songs to either their phones or their Windows XP PCs, and transfer those tracks between their computer and their phones.

Verizon plans to launch V CAST Music on January 16, 2006. By the first quarter of 2006, Verizon says V CAST Music will offer more than 1 million tracks available from major music distributor EMI, Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner Music Group as well as indie distributor The Orchard. V CAST Music will run on Verizon’s broadband network, which the company says now reaches more than 150 million Americans.

Customers buying songs from V CAST Music get two copies of the track: one specially compressed and processed for the phone, and another higher-fidelity version for the PC. Pricing varies, depending how users purchase the tunes: Users will be able to purchase songs immediately, over the air, using their mobile phones for $1.99 per track, which includes a copy both for use on the phone and a user’s PC. Songs purchased from the PC cost $0.99 and can be transferred to users’ phones via USB. (Users will also be able to transfer existing music to their phones.) PC users will also be able to buy entire albums via V CAST Music; album pricing will vary, but should often fall below $0.99 per track.

Tracks from V CAST Music use Microsoft’s Windows Media technology for playback and digital rights management; this means the tracks should work in Windows Media Player and most other Windows-based jukebox and music player applications, but the tracks cannot (easily) be transferred to systems which don’t support Windows Media, like Apple’s iPod.

Verizon says the LG VX8100 and the Samsung a950 phones will be among the V CAST Music-enabled phones available when the service launches.