Cingular debuts mobile music service

Posted by Mark Raby

Becoming the latest wireless service provider to enter the digital music arena, Cingular today launched a mobile music service that it claims offers better features than its competitors.

Rather than developing a proprietary platform, Cingular has teamed up with existing digital music providers to created an embedded mobile version of their service for Cingular handsets. Yahoo, Napster, Emusic and XM all have created partnerships with Cingular.

For a monthly fee, users are able to tap into a wide library of music from Yahoo and Napster, and Emusic for $12 a month. However, the subscribers don't actually own the music files and only have access to them while Additionally, users can subscribe to a mobile version of XM radio for $9 a month. The XM service is scheduled to launch on 6 November. Those who want access to all the mobile music options can pay $15 a month for the music downloading and XM radio service together.

Sprint and Verizon have already created their own mobile music services, but in addition to paying a monthly fee to access over-the-air content, users are billed a fee for each song they download. On the Sprint Music Store, it's typically $1.50 per song, while VCast Music charges users $2.00 for every song.

Depending on the song, users also get a computer download file of the song as part of the price. It still is not as competitive as the PC-based applications like iTunes and Sony Connect, which offer songs at $0.99 each.

Initially, phones that support Cingular Music are the Samsung SYNC, the CU500 from LG, and the W810i, W300i, and 3125 from Sony Ericsson.