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A million songs heading to your phone

Musiwave says its has secured permission to offer full-song downloads from all four major music labels.

Musiwave, a French digital music company, is expected to announce on Tuesday that it has secured rights from all four major international music labels to sell full versions of their songs over mobile phone networks.

Over the next year, the company, which already sells a small proportion of the labels' music through Vodafone's network in seven European countries, will expand its catalogue to rival that offered by Apple Computer and other PC-based rivals.

Currently, about 150,000 songs are available for download, according to the company. That will expand to 500,000 tracks by June, and a million tracks by the end of 2005. Vodafone customers will be able to download these to their multimedia phones in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden the United Kingdom, but the service will also be rolled out in other countries.

Musiwave has said it plans to enter the U.S. market sometime in 2005.

U.S. mobile phone carriers are somewhat behind their European peers in offering multimedia services such as music downloads, in part because the mobile phone data networks are not quite as advanced. However, some carriers have begun music experiments.

On Monday, Sprint announced that it is offering streaming music services to its customers, provided by Music Choice, the same company that offers digital music channels to cable and satellite TV subscribers.

An American Musiwave rival called Melodeo said last week that it had secured download sales rights from the Warner Music Group and launched a download service in Spain.