Orange and Sony Ericsson still making music

Orange and Sony Ericsson are launching an unsigned band competition across Europe in a bid to generate marketing exposure for the carrier’s mobile music services on the vendor’s handsets.

The service – mobileact unsigned – will first launch in the UK, where content from the competition will also be broadcast by terrestrial and digital broadcaster Channel 4.

Orange has shifted two million Sony Ericsson Walkman handsets with the Orange Music Store application embedded across its portfolio so far, and the firms are targeting sales of three million by the end of 2007, according to Herve Fontaine, vice president, Global Customer Unit, Sony Ericsson.

The firms have not revealed how many of the two million users who have taken delivery of these ‘Signature Series’ handsets are regular users of Orange music services. What they have said is that Orange’s Walkman phone users consume 50 per cent more music than the firm’s average customer, and that they generate more than twice the ARPU of the average customer.

Content from the competition will be free to access, although standard, market by market traffic charges will apply. Revenue generation is not the purpose for either company.

“This is a marketing exercise,” Fontaine said, explaining that the co-branded advertising will help the vendor publicise a trio of new music phones – the W660i, W910i and the W580i, all of which will debut on Orange networks. The carrier, meanwhile, hopes that the competition will broaden the appeal of mobile music services.

“Our target is to access the mass market,” said Yves Maitre, senior vice president of devices at Orange. “We want music to be democratic, we want to position it in a way that makes life simple.”

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