TDC, the former Danish state telco, just started a press conference to unveil a new offering giving broadband and mobile customers unlimited free music - for no extra cost. Though "Play" launches at midnight tonight, it's not an April Fool, a spokesperson assured me - the company sees it as a way to retain and attract customers and has agreed terms of payment with over 30 labels including EMI, Sony (NYSE: SNE) BMG, Warner and Danish labels, the spokesperson said.
TDC will offer Play through its mobile unit (2.9 million customers) and its YouSee broadband business (309,000 subscribers). Except for prepay mobile and 2Mbps broadband customers, subscribers can download as many tunes as they like from a repertoire of over a million - but DRM attached to tracks means they can't be transferred to other devices and will expire in 30 days if customers cancel their subscription. Unlocked tracks can be bought for eight krona (0.84), however. It's 48Kbps AAC/AAC+ for mobile, 192Kbps WMV for desktop. Company CEO Jens Alder said TDC was launching Play because the mobile and broadband markets are saturated and it needed "new thinking". He said it was TDC's most important strategy in years. Release.
The wind in the music biz is blowing toward delivering tunes as a free commodity. Recent months have seen Nokia (NYSE: NOK) launch its Comes With Music bundled music programme and Omnifone launch its MusicStation service. EMI and Sony BMG have also said they are keen to offer their catalogues tied to service's unlimited-access models. The only curious thing about TDC's announcement is the absence of Universal, whose Total Music repertoire has helped pioneer the model with Nokia's launch.
By Robert Andrews