Thursday, December 22, 2005

Verizon plans to offer mobile music downloads

CNET has gotten wind of Verizon's plans "to introduce a music download service next month that will let subscribers purchase music wirelessly over their mobile phones and transfer songs between their phones and Windows PCs."

Reportedly, the service will be called V Cast Music, and will be "available on Jan. 16 at Circuit City, Verizon Wireless stores and Verizon's Web site." More details are expected at a CES press conference on January 5 with Verizon Chief Executive Denny Strigl, and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer supposedly attending. The new service claims the unique ability to transfer songs between PC and handset based on the Microsoft partnership.

Of course, the big question still remains over whether consumers actually want to download music to their cell phones. GartnerG2 analyst Mike McGuire pointed out that "research data hasn't shown a groundswell in demand for full iTunes-like capabilities on the phones." He said, "We've seen a lot of interest in listening to music, but not necessarily in downloading it over the air."

Pricing will be critical. If consumers have to pay significantly more than the iTunes 99 cents per song model then the "convenience" of OTA full music downloads won't really matter....