Service allows indies to handle mobile services.

Startxt Label, a new Web-based technology designed for helping small independent labels launch direct-to-consumer mobile-music services, goes live today (Oct. 26).

It is an offshoot of a generic platform called Startxt, which was created in 2004 by London-based Kodime to enable indie companies offer mobile content off portal.

Now Kodime has developed Startxt Label specifically for small record companies, who want to manage, sell and market their mobile services themselves, without depending on wireless carriers.

"Operators have controlled their environments quite substantially, in terms of presentation, billing and content delivery," explains Nico Kopke, who founded Kodime in 2003 and is the former senior VP online at Sony Music Entertainment Europe before the BMG merger. "But, (rights) owners should be able to sell and market content directly to customers, and use the network for distribution only."

Effectively, record companies license the Startxt Label software from Kodime, which also encodes the labels' content.

With the software, the labels can create infrastructures for their branded mobile stores, and upload the encoded content, which could range from ringtones to downloadable full videos.

Without waiting for when and how the operators will market their stores, the labels can retain their copyright, manage their databases, set their price points, add their marketing material, and determine how to position their roster of acts.

The labels can control and maintain the mobile store from a dedicated Web site.

The system supports full downloads not only to cell phones, but also to other portable devices, including Apple Computer's iPod, and MP3 digital players.

Customers can pay by premium SMS, credit cards and PayPal by both the Web and mobile handsets.

Before launching Startxt Label, Kodime had already supplied the original Startxt platform to its non-label entertainment clients such as German industrial-metal band Rammstein, the London Symphony Orchestra, New Orleans Jazz Festival, EMI Music Publishing, and music instrument maker Boosey & Hawkes.

Kodime also has offices in Sydney and New York.