Telecom’s launches NZ's largest mobile music store - but it’s wrapped in DRM

[UPDATE: This just in from Apple's John Marx on the question of whether iTunes content can be downloaded directly, via 3G, to an iPhone running on Vodafone NZ's network:

"To give the best customer experience content up to 10MB can be downloaded over 3G. Over that it's then via wi-fi.

Note - you can however stream podcasts and iTunes over 3G and as this is a steam it isn't dependent on file size."]

Telecom today launched what is indisputably New Zealand’s largest home-grown mobile music store - but Vodafone has been quick to pick it apart.

Telecom’s music store, launched today, offers customers of its new XT network 3.2 million tracks, downloadable to Nokia 3120, 6120, 6600 and E71; Samsung F480T, S8300T and 5220; LG GM310; and Sony Ericsson W705 and C510a phones.

A spokesman for Vodafone immediately criticised Telecom for wrapping its songs in copy-protection or DRM (digital rights management), preventing them from being copied to an MP3 player or other device (an exception is if you upgrade or change XT phones. If you do, you can re-download each track).

Vodafone’s music store offers fewer songs (at around 2 million), but has no DRM.

Recently, Apple’s iTunes also eliminated DRM.

Vodafone also has a different pricing model, offering unlimited downloads for $2.50 a week under an all-you-can-eat rental model.

Concurrent with its move away from DRM (and a boost in audio resolution), Apple introduced three tiers of pricing: $1.29, $1.79 (where most songs sit) or $2. 39, depending on popularity (prices are set by record companies). iTunes offers 7 million tracks, and at the highest audio quality. The downside: you can’t download songs on the move (even the iPhone doesn’t offer direct cellular access to iTunes, although it does offer wi-fi access, on Vodafone’s network).

Vodafone says its music store is available to all 3G customers, with 20 devices supported.

Neither carrier includes song downloads as part of a customers's data allowance; XT's service allows iTunes style 30 second preview browsing, which is also not counted toward your cap.

NBR is sticking with its iPod.

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17 Comments & Questions

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DRM implementation is a major strategic blunder and will have ongoing impact on the experience customers have.

It will be interesting to compare usage numbers for both the Vodafone and Telecom services after six months... DRM could be thing that puts people off.

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I already have all my tunes on iTunes??!!

Sounds like the Telecom management team is listening to those guys who sold them on Ferrit a few years back.

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They have 8 million tracks that can be bought on-the-go.

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This just in from Apple's John Marx on the question of whether iTunes content can be downloaded directly, via 3G, to an iPhone running on Vodafone NZ's network:

"To give the best customer experience content up to 10MB can be downloaded over 3G. Over that it's then via wi-fi.

Note - you can however stream podcasts and iTunes over 3G and as this is a steam it isn't dependent on file size."

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I wouldn't trust a DRM riddled track from Telecom. Either give me MP3 and let me do what I want with it or bugger off.

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Why would you bother download off Vodafone music store and its DRM free pure MP3

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perhaps it might be useful to publish the Telecom store's website address ? [If you're a Telecom XT customer, you can access the new music store through XT's WAP portal, T World. - CK]

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Who would be stupid enough to visit it

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I'm annoyed, I have paid for songs and can only listen to them through the sad speakers on the phone! What's the point?

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I thought all this business with DRM wrapped up last year. It really makes me mad when I pay for a song and can only listen to it on my phone due to copyright red tape. Thumbs down, Telecom. I expected better from you. I hope you change your policy soon; music makes <a href="http://www.angieslist.com/angieslist/companylist/plumbing.info.aspx">plu... so much better.

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Why can't music store's ship without DRM. Now even <a href="http://www.horriblenight.com">video games</a> are safe from DRM now. It's ridiculous. I understand they want to protect it from pirating, but come on enough is enough. I'm paying for the material, I should be able to use it how I want to.

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I don't think that these kind of music store are good for the industrie and the artist.

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Note - you can however stream podcasts and iTunes over 3G and as this is a steam it isn't dependent on file size."<a href="http://blogskinny.com/">kate</a>

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I'm annoyed, I have paid for songs and can only listen to them through the sad speakers on the phone! What's the point?

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