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EMI Music supports MusicStation’s new unlimited music download subscription service in Hong Kong

  • Award-winning MusicStation service arrives in Asia-Pacific, one of the world’s fastest growing digital music markets
  • 3 MusicStation offers subscribers unlimited music direct to 3 Hong Kong mobiles for just HK$12 per week* (less than US$1.55 / €1.20)
  • Innovative price point established by Omnifone to encourage legal music consumption across the region
  • More local and international tracks available on 3 MusicStation at launch than any other digital music service in Hong Kong
  • MusicStation handsets arrive in 3 Hong Kong stores from tomorrow

22 October 2007, Harbour Plaza Hotel, Hong Kong – Mobile music company Omnifone, today announces the first roll out of its award-winning unlimited music downloads service, MusicStation, in Asia-Pacific with Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited’s mobile operation 3 Hong Kong.

3 MusicStation will provide 3 Hong Kong’s mobile users unlimited access, when subscribed, to a vast catalogue of music from all the major record labels; Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music Group, as well as leading independents, on a range of new and existing handsets at an innovative price point of just HK$12 per week* (including data charges).

“Hong Kong is the gateway to Asia-Pacific and so strategically important for Omnifone’s global ambitions,” said Rob Lewis, CEO of Omnifone. “Partnering with 3 Hong Kong, one of the most innovative mobile network operators in the world, enables us to make the first step in bringing MusicStation to what will be the world’s most important digital music market.”

3 MusicStation gives users the freedom to download, play and share whatever music they want wherever they are, directly on their handset. Customers can discover and download any new music risk-free at any time, enabling legitimate and effective music discovery. 3 MusicStation also features live charts, a personalised music news service and a music based social network community capability which enables users to make friends, build and share playlists and music recommendations with other 3 MusicStation users.

3 Hong Kong Chief Operating Officer Amy Lung, said; “At 3 we pride ourselves on delivering an innovative suite of cutting edge services to our subscribers. In launching 3 MusicStation, we are the first operator in Asia-Pacific to rollout an All You Can Eat (AYCE) music subscription service that gives consumers the freedom to access as much music as they want, at any time, anywhere in Hong Kong, on a wide range of new and existing music mobiles over the 3 network.”

3 MusicStation is available on 14** new or existing 3/3.5G Nokia and Sony Ericsson music mobiles, either preinstalled or alternatively available for Over The Air (OTA) download from 3 Hong Kong’s 3G portal. 3.5G (High Speed Data Packet Access – HSDPA) handsets including the Nokia 6120, N95 and Sony Ericsson W910i will deliver full track downloads over the mobile network in just a few seconds and an entire album can be downloaded in under a minute.

Further 3 MusicStation handsets from a range of manufacturers will added in the run up to Christmas.

Omnifone sets compelling Asia-Pacific pricing to encourage legal music consumption
Omnifone has set special pricing for MusicStation across Asia-Pacific countries which will encourage legal music consumption across the region. 3 MusicStation users will pay just HK$12 per week* for unlimited access to the largest catalogue of local and international music available in Hong Kong.

Sandy Monteiro, Senior Vice President (ASEAN), Vice President – Digital (South East Asia excluding China), Universal Music Group International said, “Asia-Pacific is a huge market for the music industry, but piracy issues have stifled the growth of legal music sales in recent times. The widespread acceptance of the mobile phone as a device to experience music in the region is providing a great opportunity for the industry to get a better sense of the true value of music.

The arrival of 3 MusicStation is timely; it’s a compelling music experience on mobile with competitive pricing, easy to use, widespread access to exciting content, and is available to virtually all music mobile handsets. As the leading player in the market, Universal Music will benefit greatly from the launch of 3 MusicStation in Hong Kong and its roll out across the region, as will music in general.”

JF Cecillon, Chairman & CEO, EMI Music International said, “Subscription based mobile music services are more established in Asia-Pacific than in many other parts of the world. The launch of 3 MusicStation in Hong Kong is a great opportunity for EMI and its artists to be a part of this burgeoning market and to help drive the development of legal music consumption.”

Lachie Rutherford, President, Warner Music Asia-Pacific, said, “In order to meet the challenges posed by illegal copying of music in this region, we need to develop attractive legitimate alternatives. 3 MusicStation provides Warner Music Asia-Pacific with a great way to tap into this market via a convenient, easy-to-use and well-priced service that provides consumers with a compelling mobile music experience.”

Ruuben van den Heuvel, Senior Vice President, Digital and New Business Development, Sony BMG Music Entertainment Asia said, “We are delighted that 3′s customers can now enjoy the rich music offering that MusicStation enables. Millions of music fans in Hong Kong being connected to music 24/7 provides the best way for Sony BMG to continue to enrich the lives of many through the incredible creativity of our artists.”

Full Traditional Chinese implementation for 3 MusicStation
Confirming Omnifone’s strategic focus on localisation, Omnifone confirms the 3 MusicStation service features a full Traditional Chinese interface in addition to an English language interface. The implementation of wide handset reach double-byte character support will also assist other proposed rollouts in Asia-Pacific. The 3 MusicStation service will also be supported by a local Omnifone editorial team providing full editorial support for localised music news and content, a key characteristic of every MusicStation rollout.

The Asia-Pacific market
Asia-Pacific is the world’s fastest growing digital music market, now accounting for 25% of global digital sales. Although PC and broadband penetration is fragmented across the region, Asia-Pacific has a vibrant mobile culture with many consumers purchasing between two and three new handsets every year. Asia-Pacific boasts the highest levels of 3G penetration in the world with 53% of mobile subscribers in Japan and 35% of mobile subscribers in South Korea currently using 3G handsets. (Source: IFPI Digital Music Report 2007).

Though low iPod penetration and the lack of any iTunes stores in Asia-Pacific (outside of Australia, Japan and New Zealand) means that many consumers chose to copy or side-load music rather than purchasing tracks legally, subscription based streaming and download services have proved popular throughout the region. There is a strong opportunity for mass market subscription based music services which can in turn promote the take-up of legal music consumption across the region.

Robin Bloor, international IT analyst with Bloor Research said, “Setting a very low weekly subscription fee for 3 MusicStation is a sensible move. It will be seen as an incentive for mobile users in Asia-Pacific, who rarely pay for music on PCs or MP3 players. The Asia-Pacific market is predicted to be the largest for digital music over the next few years. Launching with 3 Hong Kong allows Omnifone to leverage this developed part of Asia-Pacific where 3G penetration levels are high, to gain a strategic foothold in the region. MusicStation’s subscription based model is likely to help 3 Hong Kong hold on to customers, reducing churn and incrementally increasing ARPU† from music. Other operators will surely follow as digital music becomes a clear differentiator. Asia-Pacific is not scheduled to get the iPhone any time soon – maybe not for years – so Omnifone is stealing a march on Apple’s iTunes in an important market, where iTunes has no significant footprint.”

Further MusicStation rollouts imminent
The 3 Hong Kong launch comes just weeks after Vodafone announced that it will roll out MusicStation in the UK in November. Further rollout announcements will be made imminently.

Omnifone is working with 27 other mobile network operator partners to rollout MusicStation across 40 European, Asia-Pacific and African countries including; Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.

*Subscribers pay a small weekly fee of just HK$12 including data charges, directly through their existing 3 contracts. 3 MusicStation is available to download to new and existing mobiles from 3 Hong Kong’s 3G portal. 3 MusicStation handsets will be available in 3 Hong Kong stores.
**See 3 MusicStation handset range.
† Average revenue per user (ARPU)

Ends

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