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Downloading Music to Your Cell Phone

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Downloading music to your cell phone. How much are you willing to pay? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. More and more cell phones…including the Treo phones….and PocketPC phones…are capable of playing music. You have to transfer the songs over from your personal computer. Sprint Nextel is the first carrier that allows customers to download full songs….over the air…directly to their phones. Two phones…on the company's high speed Power Vision network…can use the service…and chief operating officer Len Lauer says more are on the way. But Sprint is charging 2.50 per song. Who will pay that much?

"Well a lot of this is about convenience. The great thing about our service is you're going to be able to download that song wherever you are. And I think it's similar when you go to a rock concert or a sport event and buy a bottle of water. Why do you pay five dollars for a bottle? Because it's convenient. It's there when you want it. That's what mobility is about. A lot of people today are paying a dollar and a half to two dollars for a small piece of a song to use that for a ringer on their handset. We've also broken some barriers around digital rights management. So for that two and a half dollars, not only do you bring it to your Sprint handset, you also can download that to up to three PCs and you can burn an unlimited amount of CDs from that. So it really does give you true portability the other services don't allow."

Record companies will make more money in the deal….than they would from songs purchased through Apple's iTunes…

"The economics are probably better for the music companies in the relationship they have with us versus the 99 cent downloads. But also, remember, the music industry on this one is opening up digital rights management."

How consumers will respond…is the question. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.