Vodafone Ramps Up Music Offering

Download service expanding to new territories.

Mobile phone operator Vodafone has boosted its music catalog to 500,000 songs. The company's download service launched in November with 4,000 titles.

The new catalog comprises repertoire from Sony BMG Entertainment, EMI Music Group, Warner Music International and various independent labels. Vodafone is still negotiating a download deal with Universal Music International, which currently supplies ringtones and ringtunes to the carrier.

"We are working with, and continue to work with Universal ... on a best solution for full-track music downloads," Graeme Ferguson, Vodafone executive head of content development, tells Billboard.biz. He adds that the company also hopes to complete a deal with UMI for video.

Vodafone rolled out high-speed, CD-quality sound services for 12 European countries and Japan in November. The full-track download service was launched only in the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden; markets expected to come on board later this year are Japan, France, Switzerland, Austria and Ireland.

A Vodafone spokesperson says subscribers have downloaded more than 1 million full tracks to their handsets.