Universal, Webtv tune into mobile music

MUMBAI: Universal Music UK has signed a deal with Webtv Europe. This will enable the secure distribution of Universal's music and video portfolio to mobile phones and hand-held devices.

The deal follows the successful completion of a series of tests by Universal Music UK on the Digital Rights Management software supplied by Webtv Europe. This will protect artistes against copyright infringement and fraud.

Universal Music UK claims to have a 26 per cent share of the UK music sector. Its artistes include the legendary Irish rock group U2, Keane, Scissor Sisters and Daniel Bedingfield. It has over 300,000 digitised tracks. The significance of the deal can be gauged from the fact that there are now over 38 million mobile phones in the UK that are capable of accepting multimedia downloads.

Webtv Europe announced the deal at the telecommunications industry's trade fair, World Telemedia, which opened in Amsterdam this week. A company release adds that yesterday World Telemedia witnessed the 'world's first collective download' of quality videoclips

Universal Music UK new media group director Rob Wells added, "Establishing a secure and efficient route to market for digital entertainment is vital to the future development of our industry. Webtv Europe has succeeded in putting together a business model that meets our requirements for both security and efficiency. This is great news for both our customers and for our artists."

Webtv Europe also confirmed that network operators One World Interactive which provides access and billing solutions for interactive content, and Opera Telecom will be the first distributors for the service. The list of other providers will be announced shortly.

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