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Napster, Ericsson In Music Download Deal

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The agreement will allow for over-the-air downloads of music from Napster’s service to Ericsson customers.

The Swedish telecom equipment company Ericsson already sells services like voice mail and text messaging to wireless providers. The newly licensed Napster branded music service will be made available in the same way.

As phone makers have been adding music players to their equipment, wireless carriers fear losing out on the mobile music market. New phones from companies like Motorola will let a user sync the phone with their computer to update music purchased from places like Apple’s iTunes.

Motorola has announced its iTunes phones will be available later this summer, while Sony Ericsson announced its music playing Walkman W600 phone would be available in the fourth quarter.

Testing of the music service will begin in Europe, and should roll out to other parts of the world over the next 12 months. Napster needs to find new markets for its service, in the wake off Yahoo’s entry into digital music subscriber services. Yahoo entered the market and promptly undercut Napster and Real’s Rhapsody To Go on pricing.

And rumors of a possible Microsoft entry to the digital music field could complicate the market as well.

Phone carriers will hope to charge a fee each time content is downloaded from Napster, as it does with other downloadable content. Napster hopes its over-the-air service will give it an edge over iTunes.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Napster, Ericsson In Music Download Deal
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