Verizon Nixes Fees for V CAST Music

In conjunction with its launch of the LG Chocolate phone today, Verizon Wireless has announced that it’s eliminating its $15 per month fee for subscribing to its V CAST wireless music download service.

Cellular operators have been very fired up about mobile media, especially over-the-air music download services, as ways to create and amplify revenue streams from their wireless customers. Operators like Verizon and Sprint have opted to open their own wireless stores and services to keep the revenue close to home.

The $15 fee for Verizon V CAST was a great example of how that revenue amplification could work. Verizon offers V CAST subscribers the opportunity to purchase music wirelessly, selecting tracks from a library of more than 1.3 million songs from both major and independent labels. Songs cost $1.99 apiece, and users received a version for their Windows PC in addition to a version for their V CAST enabled phone.

Doing the math, that’s $15 per month, plus $1.99 per song, plus airtime charges for each purchase (and the data transfer involved in searching, selecting, and purchasing). All going to Verizon. What a deal!

By eliminating the $15 per month charge—in conjunction with the music-friendly LG Chocolate phone—Verizon is aiming to make V CAST music attractive to more users. Now, anyone with a V CAST-capable phone can purchase tracks for $1.99 apiece (plus airtime), purchase songs for a Windows XP PC for $0.99, and transfer WMA (and, for the Chocolate, MP3) from their personal collections to their phones for free.

The big question is: is elimiating the monthly fee a sign of the viability of the over-the-air music store model, or a sign that V CAST is hurting for customers? Is the capability to purchase music over-the-air from a mobile phone so compelling that music fans are willing to do so on more than a once-in-a-blue-moon basis? Eliminating the $15/month fee may make it less painful for Verizon customers to sample the service, but how many will be so blown away that they’ll keep coming back, given that the same content is available more economically from elsewhere, and can be easily transferred to the same phone?

Mobile

5G is the swift kick VR and AR gaming needs to come to fruition

There's a lot of hype surrounding augmented reality and virtual reality, but is it really the next big thing? We take a look at where the new mediums stand, as well as how 5G is poised to help them break into the mainstream.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Product Review

Nokia’s 3.1 Plus is an affordable phone that’s crippled by its camera

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is HMD Global’s first smartphone to be sold by a U.S. carrier in-store. It’s only available on Cricket Wireless right now, which underlines its focus on affordability. Should you buy a phone this affordable?
Home Theater

Everything to know about Sling TV: Channels, pricing, and more

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Mobile

The 2019 iPhone could put a charge into your other Apple gadgets

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Deals

This discounted smartwatch is a cheap Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa alternative

The Amazfit Bip isn't an Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa, but at the discounted price of $67, it's a very affordable alternative packed with useful features. With built-in GPS and 30-day battery life, this cheap smartwatch is a great option to…
Mobile

Own an unlocked Galaxy S9? The U.S. Android Pie update has landed

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Gaming

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Mobile

It looks like Google may get rid of the back button in Android Q

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system -- here's everything we know so far.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.
Social Media

Instagram to make giving easier with a Stories donation sticker for fundraisers

Instagram is preparing to launch a donation feature within Stories that would allow users to raise cash for a range of nonprofit charities. The company confirmed it's aiming to launch the donation sticker later this year.