Sony BMG is testing a mobile music service in Europe that would allow fans to buy and download select songs using SMS short codes instead of accessing them through the music store of a wireless operator.

The label is working with operator Vodafone UK and mobile music service provider Groove Mobile on the trial.

At the heart of the three-month trial is an effort to simplify the often-complicated payment process associated with such "off-deck" purchases. Acquiring multimedia files directly from content providers is certainly possible, but often results in higher transport fees than if purchased through the carrier-run service.

"Cost incurred by labels to distribute music on a digital platform remains the single biggest barrier to off-portal music sales, and one of the largest inhibitors to growth in the off-portal sector in general," said Groove Mobile chief marketing officer Adam Sexton.

Participating artists include Usher, Westlife, Shayne Ward, Faithless, Kasabian and Chris Brown.