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Sony Ericsson PlayNow Arena: Walkmans get 5 million songs

Sony Ericsson's PlayNow service to get a face-lift and 5 million tracks to download.

The digital music space is getting hotter than a bedroom full of cheerleaders wrestling over who has the most impressive Xbox 360 Achievement score. In about a week we've seen sign deals with every major label for free on-demand streaming, Amazon announce it's bringing its DRM-free download store to Europe and 7digital announcing it's taking its DRM-free store to the US. But it's about to get even more interesting.

Sony Ericsson just announced its PlayNow service, which since 2004 has offered ringtones, is getting an upgrade. The new feature, called PlayNow Arena, is to offer over five million tracks for over-the-air download to phones. Three of the four major labels are on-board, the odd one out being Universal, which is launching its own phone-centric download system.

The announcement comes a short time after Nokia unveiled its questionable 'Comes With Music' service. In fact, it seems unusually late considering Sony Ericsson's commitment to music phones under the Walkman brand.

PlayNow Arena will launch first in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland in May, followed by the UK and other European countries later in the year. Sony Ericsson plans to have the service running in over 30 countries by the end of the year, but it hasn't released any details on pricing or even how you'd pay for the tracks.