• Mar 11, 2009
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  • VODAFONE’S MUSIC CATALOGUE SWITCHES TO DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT FREE MP3 FORMAT FROM UNIVERSAL MUSIC, SONY MUSIC AND EMI ON MOBILE AND PC

* First global mobile network operator to offer DRM free music across both mobile phones and PCs
* Customers are free to play their downloaded music on any of their digital devices
* Over a million tracks to choose from including a huge selection of today’s top artists such as
Britney Spears, Coldplay, Duffy, Lady Gaga, Lily Allen and The Fray

Vodafone announces today that it has signed deals with the world’s largest record companies Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Music to offer their tracks and albums DRM free (without digital rights management) across Vodafone markets for both mobile phones and PCs.

The new deals are the first of their kind for a mobile network operator enabling dual delivery of DRM free music to a wide range of mobile phones and PCs with no need to sideload or synchronize. With over a million tracks available from every music genre, for the first time customers will be able to play and enjoy music bought from these three labels via the Vodafone Music store* without any limit to the type of device provided they belong to the customer. In addition, those customers who have already bought tracks or albums from Universal Music, Sony Music or EMI in WMA format (with DRM) will be able to upgrade them to MP3 at no extra charge within the existing download allowance. DRM free music will be available through a number of Vodafone countries by the summer and will complement Vodafone’s current music offerings.

“Music is central to many of our customers’ lives,” said Pieter Knook, Vodafone Internet Services Director. “By Vodafone pioneering DRM free on mobile and offering MP3s on PC, they will now have the freedom to download tracks from their favourite artists without any device restrictions allowing them to experience their musichowever they want it, wherever they are.”

“Vodafone has been a business partner of Universal Music for six years,” said Rob Wells, SVP, Digital, at Universal Music Group International. “This new deal shows how serious Vodafone is about music, and opens up new opportunities for both companies – but, more importantly, for consumers and artists.”
“We are thrilled that this agreement will provide Vodafone’s millions of customers in Europe with access to music by our popular local artists and global superstars,” commented Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business, U.S. Sales, Corporate Strategy, Sony Music Entertainment. “Vodafone’s convenient mobile and PC solution gives fans another great way to integrate music into their daily lives and forge an even stronger connection with the artists they love.”

“EMI has long been a proponent of DRM free music because of the benefits it brings to fans and so we are very supportive of this initiative from Vodafone,” said Douglas Merrill, EMI Music’s COO of New Music and President, Digital Business. “With its international reach and commitment to music, Vodafone is taking a major step forward for our industry by offering consumers more flexibility and choice.”

Notes to Editors:
* Vodafone Music store is powered by RealNetworks.
DRM free services will be available in Germany, Italy, UK, Spain and New Zealand by the summer. Australia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Turkey will follow in due course, along with services provided via Vodafone’s partner networks in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Iceland, Slovenia and Switzerland.

About Vodafone

Vodafone is the world’s leading international mobile telecommunications company, with equity interests in 27 countries and Partner Markets in more than 40 countries. As of 31 December 2008, Vodafone had approximately 289 million proportionate customers worldwide. For further information, please visitwww.vodafone.com.

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 77 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, the industry’s leading global music publishing operation.
Universal Music Group’s record labels include A&M/Octone, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Disa, Emarcy, Fonovisa, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, Machete Music, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor Records, Universal Motown Republic Group, Universal Music Latino, Universal Records South, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which includes the last 100 years of the world’s most popular artists and their recordings. UMG’s catalog is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, its new media and technologies division; Bravado, its merchandising company; Twenty–First Artists, its full service management division; and Helter Skelter, its live music agency.
Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi, a global media and communications company.

About Sony Music Entertainment

Sony Music Entertainment is a global recorded music company with a roster of current artists that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars. The company boasts a vast catalog that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. Sony Music Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America.

About EMI

EMI Music is one of the world’s leading music companies, representing artists spanning all musical tastes and genres. Its record labels include Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note, Capitol, Capitol Nashville, EMI Classics, EMI CMG, EMI Records, EMI Televisa Music, Manhattan, Mute, Parlophone and Virgin.

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