Editor's note: As of November 2007, Napster is now offering over-the-air song downloads. For $7.49 for five songs per month, or for $1.99 each, subscribers will be able to browse and purchase songs directly from the cell phone. Subscribers will then get two copies of the track; one will download to their handset and the others will download to their PC. Since we reviewed this service its name has been changed to AT&T Mobile Music.
05/09/2008: We've updated the review rating to reflect these changes.
Long after Verizon and Sprint launched their music download services, Cingular finally has released its own mobile music solution, aptly titled Cingular Music. As the first mobile music solution for GSM carriers, it's poised to take advantage of the carrier's expanding high-speed 3G data network. On the downside, only a few cell phones support this service so far and you must buy the Cingular Music Bundle to use the service. While Cingular's partner-focused approach seems like a smart move, you still have to download the songs to your PC and transfer them to your phone via USB. In the bundle are a stereo earbud headset, a USB cable, and a software CD. The Music Bundle costs $39.99.
Unlike its competitors, Cingular Music is not a music store from which you can download songs. Cingular Music instead acts as a kind of portal to different sources of music. From the main Cingular Music menu, you can select "Shop Music," which leads you to a browser page listing the various music stores available. Cingular has partnered up with existing online music subscription services such as Napster To Go, Yahoo Music, and eMusic to offer the consumer an incredibly wide music selection.