UBC Media Reveals Digital Radio Download Service
UBC Media revealed plans for a new digital music download service that allows consumers to buy songs instantly as they listen to them on Digital Radio. The new service will start operating across Britain in the first half of 2007. The London-based radio programming producer said it had reached agreements with radio companies, record companies and mobile operators to launch the service in London by early 2007 and across the country by May of that year.
In an interview, UBC Chief Executive Simon Cole said consumers would be able to download music digitally to mobile devices such as radios and mobile phones, which will appear later this year. In addition, a downloaded song would also go to the buyer’s Web-based music library. He said research had shown that the service was most popular with listeners listening to the radio at home and with people who had previously been put off by downloading music because they thought it was too complicated.
The new mobile phones and radios will track download usage. Cole said UBC was in talks with one manufacturer that was looking to develop a digital radio for use in the home that would be able to operate the service. In a statement, the company said listeners would pre-pay for songs using a credit plan similar to the one commonly used for mobile phone calls. Each song would cost around 1.25 pounds.
UBC has been testing the technology, known as Digital Music Downloading, on Chrysalis Group’s Heart station. It expects to have digital music download services operating on Heart FM, Smash Hits from Emap Plc, Smooth from Guardian Media Group and Classic Gold Digital, which UBC jointly owns with GCapMedia. It expects to announce further radio stations that will enable DMD in the coming weeks. UBC said it had also finalized commercial terms with the major music companies and music publishers on copyright payments, and it was finalizing commercial terms with Virgin Mobile as a mobile phone customer service and billing partner.