Madonna's 'Candy' A Treat For Sony Ericsson Users

Madonna's new chart smash "Hard Candy" is to be pre-loaded or carried alongside Sony Ericsson handsets across 27 countries, through a new agreement struck between Warner Music International and the cell phone manufacturer.

From this month, the chart-topping album will be embedded in a range of devices in Latin America. The cellular phones will be available in two packages, one offering five tracks from the album, the other with the full set. Both will carry extra content, including wallpapers and ringtones.

A staggered roll-out kicked off in May, which saw a download voucher for the album and an array of additional content bundled with the Walkman-branded Sony Ericsson W890 device in a string of northern and eastern European markets. The Sony Ericsson W380i Walkman mobile is available with a CD of "Hard Candy" in Belgium and the Czech Republic.

High profile marketing campaigns will support the music-enabled handsets in each market, according to WMI in a statement issued today.

"This partnership with Sony Ericsson," comments John Reid, vice chairman WMI and president, Warner Music Europe, "further expands 'Hard Candy's' global promotional reach and puts exciting content from the album direct into the hands of Madonna fans all over the world. Not only that," he adds, "packaging music from a global megastar with new Sony Ericsson phones will help drive sales of music-enabled devices and contribute to the uptake of mobile music".

Madonna's 11th studio album for Warner Bros. Records debuted at No. 1 in thirty-seven countries, according to WMI, and enjoyed four weeks at the top of Billboard's European Top 100 Album chart.

The release of "Hard Candy" has benefited from a string of international, multi-media initiatives. In the U.S., wireless operators Verizon Wireless and Vodafone teamed up to simulcast a Madonna performance live to mobile phone on their respective networks, while a remix of the single "4 Minutes" has been made available exclusively via Verizon Wireless in the United States and internationally through Vodafone.

Madonna agreed to pre-load content from her "Hard Candy" in Samsung devices in France in April.