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MusicStation and LoadIt bring subscription music to Oz

Subscription music services have finally hit Australia with the launch of Vodafone's MusicStation and Microsoft-Sanity venture LoadIt.

MusicStation on a Nokia 6210 Navigator(Credit: Vodafone)

Subscription music services have finally hit Australia with the launch of Vodafone's MusicStation and Microsoft-Sanity venture LoadIt.

MusicStation, which launches today, is a download service available to Vodafone's 3G customers. It offers unlimited track downloads for a weekly subscription fee of AU$2.75.

Songs are downloaded over the air using the MusicStation mobile phone application. Data charges are included in the subscription cost, meaning song downloads will not contribute to the Vodafone data allowance.

There are over a million songs available from labels including the "Big Four": Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music Group. Songs are in eAAC+ format with bitrates ranging from 48 to 64Kbps. The tracks must be listened to on the handset and cannot be transferred to other devices.

At launch time the service is available on nine phones: Nokia's N95 8GB, N73, E65, 6121 Classic and 6210 Navigator; the LG Viewty; and Sony Ericsson's W880i, W890i and C902 models. Further compatible handsets will be announced shortly.

The release of MusicStation follows last month's launch of the long-promised Microsoft-Sanity subscription music service. First announced in January 2007, the service — known as LoadIt — can now be accessed within Windows Media Player 11. A monthly subscription fee of AU$29 allows up to 300 tracks to be downloaded per month. The store also offers music by the track for AU$1.69 per song.

LoadIt songs are in WMA (DRM) format with a bitrate of 192Kbps, and can be transferred to up to three PCs and two music players.

Both MusicStation and LoadIt allow users to create profiles, rate songs, and create playlists that can be shared with others.