Sony Announces Streaming Music for Phones
By Eric Lin, Thu Jun 17 06:15:00 GMT 2004

TeliaSonera subscribers can now use their Symbian smartphones as a customizable mobile radio station thanks to Sony's new StreamMan service.

Sony and TeliaSonera have finally launched the mobile music streaming service that they demonstrated at CeBIT. The service, called StreamMan as a nod to Sony's Walkman, allows users to customize their own streaming radio station, which will play out through handsets.

A user starts out by either choosing a stream or selecting a musical genres he likes. As songs queue up and then play, he can use a Tivo-like thumbs up / thumbs down interface to further tailor the playlist. Thumbs up and thumbs down will effect subsequent songs and be saved on the server for future sessions. Users can get information on the music that's playing, chat with friends about it, and also check the latest news.

Although Sony usually opts to protect their own content with proprietary formats and limited time spans, it has left that job to a company called End to End this time. Sony has also opted out of its typically restrictive pricing schemes (especially for new Japanese-market products) and has agreed with TeliaSonera to offer the service for free, at least initially. Users will only be charged for the data they use. TeliaSonera is obviously hoping this will create significant data revenue.

This is the precisely the type of application I expected carriers to try when I pointed out that smartphones actually create new data revenue streams, even if they close old ones. To embarrass Mako even further, StreamMan only works on Symbian smartphones, the very models it warned would be the downfall of DRM and data revenue.