Sony Ericsson Invites Record Labels to Play

Sony Ericsson has unveiled the next stage in the evolution of its PlayNow arena over-the-air (OTA) download service. The company has announced deals with 10 major record labels, adding over 5 million new tracks to its extensive catalogue. The labels involved are Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, EMI, The Orchard, IODA, The PocketGroup, Hungama, X5 Music, Bonnier Amigo, and VidZone. Sony Ericsson says it is currently negotiating further deals with a host of regional labels to further broaden the variety of music available and bring a wealth of localised content direct to the consumer. The majority of the content is DRM-free.
Sony Ericsson introduced PlayNow in February 2004 as an easy way to pre-listen and then buy polyphonic ringtones directly to your phone. The service is now available in 32 countries around the world, with annual free and premium downloads through both PlayNow and Fun & Downloads having reached more than 200 million.
Since launch, the scope of the service has expanded to mirror the functionality of Sony Ericssons phones to include mastertones (MP3 ringtones), games, full music tracks, themes and wallpapers. In November 2007, the handset maker announced its intention to further develop its PlayNow service with PlayNow arena, offering access to a greatly expanded range of content and combining the power of the PlayNow catalogue with innovative applications like TrackID, which identifies songs and allows them to be downloaded directly to your phone or PC.
With mobile games remaining a key focus, Sony Ericsson has also added 250 new games through existing deals with leading games manufacturers such as EA Games, Gameloft, THQ, Glu, Digital Chocolate and I-Play. According to statistics from M:metrics, Sony Ericsson users download more games to their phones than users of any other mobile phone brand.
In addition, Sony Ericsson has launched PlayNow Uncut (formerly M-Buzz) a music promotional space for new, unsigned and emerging artists via Sony Ericssons product, content and marketing channels. PlayNow  Uncut showcases selected, previously unreleased tracks, videos, artwork, interviews, tour dates and other artist information on Sony Ericsson mobile phones and the web
Sony Ericsson says the rebranding and alignment with PlayNow opens up new channel opportunities for artists and enables the site to target consumers worldwide, including the US, for the first time. With an international reach, the service has always been about presenting the best new talents from around the world, whatever their style or native language. Apart from the current streaming possibilities, the highest rated and most listened to tracks will be made available for sale in the music section of PlayNow arena. For artists, this will add revenue possibilities to the already extensive promotional benefits of appearing there.