Verizon Turns Up Its Online Media Store with MP3s

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Consumers have been complaining about the problems associated with DRM technology on their music files: songs can’t be transferred between devices, shared with friends, backed up easily, and (in some cases) quick working altogether because an online music service decided to call it quits. Verizon Wireless has apparently listened, and has joined the DRM-free bandwagon in announcing more than 5 million MP3 tracks are now available from its Online Media Store.

“Being the first wireless company to add MP3s to our online media store gives our customers a one-stop shopping experience for all kinds of music—ringtones and ringback tones and now MP3s,” said Verizon Wireless’s chief marketing officer Mike Lanman, in a statement. “We have long led in mobile music, and together with the new pricing options we will continue to set the standard for the industry.”

MP3 ringtones and ringback tones aren’t the only MP3s Verizon is rolling out: beginning April 7, Verizon will also introduce variable pricing for its MP3 purchases, matching iTunes’ new variable pricing structure. New and best-selling releases will cost $1.29, while most classic catalog tunes will cost $0.69. Most contemporary releases will cost $0.99.

The Verizon Online Store is available to both mobile users and desktop PCs; users just preview music using the site, then log in to purchase.

Verizon has also announced its own Mobile Games and App Store to compete with Apple’s iTunes App Store and give Verizon customers a taste of adding capabilities and entertainment to their mobile phones. Customers with Get It Now-compatible phones with WAP or full HTML support can browse listings of “hundreds of games and applications,” including games like Tetris and Guitar Hero World Tour, along with applications like VZ Navigator and Backup Assistant. Access to the store requires Mobile Web service, available for $15/month or on a Nationwide Plan at $1.99 per megabyte.

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