MusicStation, some thoughts

Some thoughts on MusicStation - in response to Ewan at SMS Text News

(I do work for Vodafone, but these are my own opions....)

MusicStation by Omnifone is a service offered by Vodafone. For £2 per week, you can download as much music as your phone can store and listen to it any time, anywhere. It is, in essence, iTunes for your mobile. All of the songs are delivered over the air, so you don't need to sync your phone with your computer.

I use MusicStation on a Nokia N95 8GB.

Where MusicStation is good, it's very good. Where it's bad, it's merely a bit irritating.

The Good:
The fact that you can easily search for new tracks, artists and albums on your phone is great. It's like the Amazon Kindle in that you can browse, buy and use all on the same platform.

Downloading over 3G or HSDPA is just about fast enough to listen to track 1 while track 2 is downloading.

The community features are great - seeing the latest music news and downloading the artist's music at the same time is a great idea.

You can share your playlists with your friends and the wider community.

Music qualty is fine, sounds as good as the iPod - your phone and headphones not withstanding 🙂

It's cheap. £2 will buy you 2 and a half tracks on iTunes, here it gets you a week of music.

The Bad:
The usability isn't as good as the iPod. It works well, but it's not quite as fluid.

No gapless playback... Grrr... This was, I'm sure the number one feature request on the iPod and every other MP3 player. It really disrupts the flow of a live album to have a few seconds of silence between each track.

You can only play tracks you've downloaded from MusicStation. While their catalogue is very extensive, it doesn't have The Beatles - nor will it let you download profane songs (I think). So, you can't use it to play any audio books or music you've made yourself. The catalogue - like iTunes- has occasional errors and multiple versions of the same album, but nothing serious.

Being a software app, it has occaisional bugs and doesn't always integrate well with the phone's native features (volume control is done in the app, not the N95's hard keys, for example). After leaving it on all day downloading The Monkees' back catalogue, the app does become slow and occaisionally unresponsive. Admittedly, it's not going to be used for such extended periods most of the time.

There's no way I can find to delete tracks you've downloaded. With an 8GB phone it's not a problem, but if you're stuck with something smaller, it could be annoying.

DRM. I'm against DRM. It's evil. BUT, this is a rental model. For the price of 1 album (£8) you get to listen to every album in the world for a month. Without the DRM, you could download every album and quit paying at the end of the month. I'm happy to return a movie to Netflix or Blockbuster, I guess I can be happy to do it with music.
Overall, I set it downloading a couple of albums and listen to them when commuting. I'm broadly happy with it as a consumer. It's cheaper and more convenient than iTunes or any other music provider I've tried.

I wish that they had a message board where people can contribute feedback - but they seems fairly responsive by email.

The good, I feel outweighs the bad.

These are my own opions, not Vodafone's. I'm typing this on my Blackberry, so please excuse any typos.

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