eMusic and AT&T to partner for mobile music downloads

The nation's second largest online music retailer, eMusic, is apparently announcing plans today to partner with AT&T to sell tracks by independent artists directly to mobile phones, without the need for the computer middleman. The music-seller will make nearly all of its 2.7 million songs available for direct download to the carrier's devices, although eMusic's rates will jump from $9.99 for 30 songs using their traditional service, to $7.49 for just five songs with the new mobile service. You would think AT&T would be hot-to-trot with Apple when it comes to selling music for phones, but the telco already has agreements with services like Napster, and since the iPhone-maker somehow failed to include iTunes direct downloads to its device, and doesn't offer them to other devices, AT&T clearly sees a window. Granted, eMusic's catalogue is somewhat more eclectic than iTunes, but with artists like Paul McCartney and The Pixies, the cash registers could start ringing.