Well, it looks like that WSJ rumor we ran yesterday
was pretty much spot on. Cingular
is indeed launching a music service today, and we must say the scope of their undertaking is quite impressive: integration with three separate music stores, along with supplemental content aplenty. For starters, a Cingular Music phone can work with Napster
to add subscription tracks from your computer with a $15 a month Napster To Go account, and you can also access the new Napster Mobile, which allows 30 second previews and song purchases, but it looks like the songs are only downloaded to your PC, and will be transferred to your phone later. The good news is that those tracks only cost $0.99, quite a bargain compared to most current mobile services, but of course you're not paying for those hefty data charges, and you're not getting the track right when you want it. The Yahoo! Music
offering is quite similar to that of Napster, with $12 a month buying unlimited subscription track usage, but phone-based song purchases still being downloaded to the PC, for syncing with your phone later. There doesn't seem to be much of a mobile slant to eMusic
's DRM-free MP3 offerings, just added integration with Cingular, and 50 free tracks with the purchase of a W810i or W300i. A free 60-day trail of Napster is also available to Cingular customers. Cingular says all of this music store integration is "allowing consumers to extend their existing music libraries not rebuild them," but the lack of mobile song purchasing straight to a handset seems to sort of miss the point. But wait, there's more! Cingular is also announcing 25 channels of XM radio for $9 a month, that MusicID song identification service we mentioned yesterday, Music Videos, and all sorts streaming music and music related content. Cingular music will be supported by the upcoming Cingular SYNC (Samsung A707
), along with the LG CU500, Cingular 3125 and those two Sony Ericssons we already told you about. All this should be going down November 6-ish.