Sony BMG and EMI Music Group have agreed to license their music for Sprint PCS’ upcoming wireless music download service, a source close to the situation tells Billboard.biz. A similar deal with Warner Music Group is imminent, while details on Universal Music Group remain unknown.
Billboard.biz has learned that Sprint has tapped Groove Mobile to operate the wireless download store and obtain the necessary licenses from the various labels, as well as provide all e-commerce backend functions.
Sprint CEO Len Lauer in earlier press statements said the carrier will charge around $2 for each track. Sprint plans to make the service live by Christmas.
According to the source, Sprint’s interest in Groove Mobile stems from the company’s file-sharing and track recommendation capabilities. Users will have the ability to forward a clip of any purchased song to other subscribers of the same carrier in the form of a wireless Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) message.
Recipients can then play the song for a limited number of times before downloading the full track themselves. All charges will be applied to the carrier phone bill.
Groove Mobile also recently introduced a new service that allows labels and carriers to send MMS messages to users who opt in for music updates and alerts to notify them of new releases.
Groove Mobile has additional licensing agreements with V2 and, most recently, Beggars Group. It currently operates wireless download stores in six countries, including England, Singapore and Norway.