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Warner Music missing from MetroPCS-Rhapsody plan

MetroPCS enables its Android phone users to access Rhapsody's music service, only they shouldn't expect to hear Warner Music artists.


MetroPCS Communications announced today that subscribers of the company's $60-per-month Android phone rate plan can receive access to the Rhapsody Unlimited Music service, and some 12 million songs.

Only the service isn't unlimited, at least with regard to the music, due to the absence of one of the four major record labels. Warner Music Group, which has a reputation for being a tough negotiator with digital services, is the only major that didn't sign on to the MetroPCS deal. It's the third-largest of the record companies.

In the past, Warner pulled its music off YouTube during a contract dispute and reportedly was slow to license Spotify's U.S. service. Warner Music and Rhapsody representatives declined to comment about the negotiations.

The idea of bundling music into phone services has been around awhile. The top labels have looked for ways to achieve this but some of the earliest attempts, such as Nokia's "Comes With Music," were a bust.

In that case, consumers were asked to purchase phones that came preloaded with music. With MetroPCS, the music and the charges are tucked into the service and monthly bills.

MetroPCS, a wireless carrier, is known for offering prepaid phones, and a music deal like this should be attractive to the labels. It could help them reach an audience that includes people who aren't participating in the digital economy. It is believed that many MetroPCS subscribers don't own credit cards.