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Cingular's Free Music 86

Posted by Zonk
from the beer-with-a-subscription-fee dept.
PreacherTom writes "Music on one's mobile phone is nothing surprising: in fact, it is the entire principle of the upcoming iPhone. Downloading it for free is a different matter; both Verizon and Sprint's service directs to a proprietary store and charges up to $2.50 per song. Cingular plans on taking another route, having announced that they are gearing up to offer free music downloads to compatible phones. They hope to make up the difference through fees from the music subscription services for each new reference. The catch: a $15 per month fee."
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Cingular's Free Music

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's free as long as you pay $180 per year. Sorry if I'm overly excited.
    • by thc69 (98798)
      If I read TFA correctly, you pay for your music from Yahoo or Rhapsody, and Cingular doesn't charge you for your download. The $15/month, then, is a flat rate for the transmission service, not for the content.
      • by ack154 (591432)
        So would that then mean that you not only have to pay the $15/mo for the "transmission" of it... but then also purchase the actual song from one of said stores? So isn't that TWICE as not-free as it's stated?

        And no, I didn't RTFA... just going by these replies.
        • by technos (73414)
          Think about it this way.

          For $15 a month you can transfer all the music you like to your phone.

          Or:

          For $50 a month you can transfer all the data, including music, to your phone.

          It's a hell of a good deal if all you're doing is snagging music with your data plan.
          • by cibyr (898667)
            Or: (in a less fucked-up system) you can pay nothing and use bluetooth or a USB cable from your computer!
      • From the article:

        Cingular will allow people to download music to compatible phones for free, although consumers will pay a monthly charge in the range of $15 for the ability to download songs from those services to a portable music player.

        My reading of this is that they'll let you download the music to your phone for free, but to download to any other kind of device you'll have to pay $15/month.
        • by thc69 (98798)
          Good job sifting the chocolate from the dog shit. You might be right.

          So will it be free to download as many songs as you like? If so, it may become worthwhile to buy the phone and service just to use as an audio player.
    • Also annouced is a program where Cincular offers free housing for all of it's subscribers. After signing up, all I have to do is pay my rent each month and Cingular allows me to live there free of charge.
  • hmmm, (Score:2, Redundant)

    by joe 155 (937621)
    Call me a purist but a $15/month isn't "free" - no matter how you try and spin it, free is $0 a month, forever...
    • by tiocsti (160794)
      For those who rtfa (yeah yeah, i'm new here), you would note that downloading music to your phone is indeed free. Getting it from your phone to a portable music player is not. The summary is misleading.

      "Cingular will allow people to download music to compatible phones for free, although consumers will pay a monthly charge in the range of $15 for the ability to download songs from those services to a portable music player. "Right now, we're focused on getting people to view mobile music as something that's i
  • by Anonymous Coward
    so actually it's not free, it's fifteen bucks a month.

    last time i checked, "free" meant "no bucks a month".
    • the news is that they won't charge you access the services you are paying for. Before it was $15/month plus they charge an access fee , now FREE ACCESS. They also announced a program that will allow me to stay in my apartment for free, how a phone company can pull this off is beyond me but the savings are hard to argue with. All I have to do is pay my rent each month and Cingular will allow me stay in my apartment for FREE!
    • Actually, since I am not a Cingular customer, it is not free nor $15 a month. It is $15 + the cost of service + taxes a month.

      So in my case, to get this "free" service, I must pay around $50 a month.

      Kind of like these advertisements going around saying stay with radio because it is free. It is not free. I paid for the radio, and as a consumer I indirectly paid for the advertising that funds the radio programming by purchasing goods advertised.

      I am much happier paying $20/mo for two XM subscriptions and
  • Last I heard it works in conjunction with Napster (so if you have Napster it works while mobile). So, it took the "mobile music library" idea Zone would ahve had and went with it. Golf clap where it's due. But phones have, at most, 2 Gigs of storage space (on external cards). So this really isn't effective for the mass music lovers with gigs of music. A nice little feature for anyone that uses Cingular and Napster. That being said, I wished they focused more on what counts: phone service. I CAN PLAY DRM'D
    • by bsgk (792550)

      That being said, I wished they focused more on what counts: phone service. I CAN PLAY DRM'D MP3'S BUT YOU WON'T GIVE ME MY 3G NETWORK!?

      Wah, wah. They do focus on what counts - shareholder value. Their management apparently believes they can make a higher margin / total profit on charging for media services than providing a great 3G network

      Fact is, you need to be willing to pay a lot more for 3G than you are. If you (as in all customers) were willing to pay more and increase the margin they project fo

  • Write to me now for FREE information on how you can make money by sitting on your ass! Send me $10 and I'll tell you how...
  • by otacon (445694) on Friday November 03, 2006 @11:47AM (#16703409)
    Not Free as in Freedom
    Not Free as in Beer
    Free as in '$15 a month'
    • Free as in Lunch?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Aqua_boy17 (962670)
      You keep using that word. But I don't think it means what you think it means.
    • No kidding, talk about an extremely misleading Slashdot story title. Should be "Cingular's $15/mo Music". The only difference between Cingular's overpriced monthly music service and that of other providers monthly music service is the pricing structure.

      Out of curiosity, can anybody please explain why for the love of god cell phone data transfers and media services are so damn expensive? It seems a bit strange to me that I can get a ridiculous amount of transferring my voice over the air for free, yet it

    • by steveo777 (183629)
      If you look at their pricing for some of their extra services, I think you'll find that they currently charge $20/month for unlimited information service. Normally you're paying $.01 per Kb. So downloading a song would effectively screw your wallet. From what I understand they're going to lower the price for unlimited info service to 15/mo and allow free music downloads to your phone. Most likely you won't be able to pull the song off the phone, but, hey, that's a start.

      Better than 20/mo + $2/song or so

  • Or, in my case, cheap. My phone has bluetooth. As such, I can just transfer mp3s from my computer to my phone via bluetooth. Although the question arises: why would I do such a thing when the audio output just plane sucks on a phone (my phone at least)?
    • by mypalmike (454265)
      Although the question arises: why would I do such a thing when the audio output just plane sucks on a phone (my phone at least)?

      Two words: Headphones. And plain.
      • by Gramie2 (411713)
        One word: plane

        Unless, of course, you are referring to something like the Great Plains. :D
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Although the question arises: why would I do such a thing when the audio output just plane sucks on a phone (my phone at least)?

        Two words: Headphones. And plain.

        Actually, phones aren't portable music players by default, so their audio DACs are probably quite inferior compared to a portable player. A phone can't afford nice DACs and nice amps to complement them because they take space on the board, cost too much, and take too much power. Especially considering all the audio switching that goes on in a phone.

    • by Kankraka (936176)
      I don't think you've found a loophole there, I'm sure Cingular has thought of this. I know my service provider (Rogers Wireless) locks all MIDI and MP3's downloaded to remain on the phone. However, I'm willing to bet a card reader would do the trick.
      • It wouldn't help. Your downloads probably use OMA1 Forward Lock DRM, where the the file is tied to the handset (by asking the handset nicely). This is achieved mainly by encrypting the file with a 'hidden' key tied to the handset or by restricting copies from the internal storage.
  • This is obviously some new definition of the word free with which I have been previously unfamiliar.

    • Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'free' that I wasn't previously aware of.
    • This just in, talking on the phone is free if you have the $60/month voice plan. And wireless internet is free if you sign up for the 40/month data plan. All said and done you can have access to music and internet and voice services for free if you pay the $150/month.
  • Cingular will allow people to download music to compatible phones for free, although consumers will pay a monthly charge in the range of $15 for the ability to download songs from those services to a portable music player.
  • Wow. Never have I seen that pricing scheme before. Especially not at Napster.

    Speaking of Napster... how are they getting along?
    • Speaking of Napster... how are they getting along?

      I thought I read rumors of them shutting down yet another time, but they were probably unfounded. They are still alive, but I wonder if they are viable. I would have tried their service but I had technological issues, wrong OS (XP only) and they had trouble with my ISP.
  • ...that defines "too much damn hassle and expense to listen to a couple songs while out and about?"

    Honestly, this stand on one leg, confirm your DRM identity, rub stomach, pat head, open wallet wider and face Mecca in order to listen to a fricken' song is getting stoopid.

    Note: "stoopid" is an order of magnitude worse that "stupid."

    $15 a month? And people complain about Tivo fees.

    • by thc69 (98798)
      Note: "stoopid" is an order of magnitude worse that "stupid."
      Note: "that" is an order of magnitude worse than "than". T isn't anywhere near N, at least on my keyboard.
  • Meh. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday November 03, 2006 @12:04PM (#16703621) Homepage Journal
    The real method to get free music on most mid-priced phones, is hold the phone up toward a cheap speaker and hit "record" on the voice memo feature. On the phone's crappy mono speaker, the end result will be indistinguishable from if you somehow imported lossless uncompressed PCM data from the studio masters.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      You can't be serious. I really don't think anybody expects people to hold the phone up to their head and use the built-in speaker in order to listen to music.
      • You can't be serious.
        Ten out of ten for observation.
    • by Yendys (729283)
      The other acceptable method is just to buy yourself a bluetooth dongle and export your mp3s over. Can get the exact clips you want that way. Also this has the added benefit of being able to back up your contact list.
  • The US mobile phone market is crap. There is far too much vendor lock-in. The European markets are much more sophisticated than that in the US, because of the competition that was prevalent there. Hell, everyone I knew when I lived in the UK and Germany had had phones for years, and I left in 2001. Since arriving in North America I have yet to get a phone, becuae the plans are ridiculously restrictive and the services available are only now equivalent to what I had in Europe.

    There is focus in the Nort
    • by plusser (685253)
      Not surprised that mobile phones are bad in the US, especially as the pay phones are absolutely abysmal and are run by the same people (from personal experience on a recent trip to the US).
    • buy your plan from opexwireless.com (Cincular network) and your phone from ebay.com
      Problem is people in the US are retarded and buy their service where ever Catherine Zeta Jones tells them.
  • You really can't beat buying used cd's on Amazon and ripping them to your phone. I don't typically find a new artist every month that would justify paying 15$ a month for this service. I'd rather buy one cd I like for a possible 5$ a month used than pay this fee every month when I may not find a cd. Fact of the matter is that there's not too much good music out anymore and if there is, a lot of time it won't be on these music services initially. That's another viable point, what type of selection will they
  • For $15 per month, I can get FREE music?

    I guess that means I'm getting FREE cable, water, gas, electricity, car, house, etc.

    I feel so FREE!

    -ch
  • That is certainly a weird idea of "free". Is anybody really going to buy this newspeak?

    This whole article sux for saying "Free Music" when it's anything but. The editors should have put the $15/month fee in the first sentence, not the last one.

  • Nothing in life is gratis...
  • From the article:
    "Cingular will allow people to download music to compatible phones for free, although consumers will pay a monthly charge in the range of $15 for the ability to download songs from those services to a portable music player."
    So downloads to your phone are free, but if you want those songs on your MP3 player as well, you'll need to shell out $15 a month.
  • by exdnc (543119)
    FTFA:

    Cingular will allow people to download music to compatible phones for free, although consumers will pay a monthly charge in the range of $15 for the ability to download songs from those services to a portable music player. "

    Then you go to their press release [mediaroom.com] and realize that they're not just talking about one monthly fee, but a whole bunch of monthly subscriptions. Napster for $14.95/mo, yahoo! for $11.99/mo, emusic [emusic.com]gives you 50 songs free (what kind of songs?), and XM satellite for $8.99 a mo. A f

  • If you have tried data on Cingular without an unlimited plan, you know how un-free this could be. Personally, this is what I've stacked up to solve this problem.

    Cingular 2125 [amazon.com] Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone.
    $20/month for unlimited data.
    Orb [orb.com] at home on my media machine.
    Shure i2c-t [shurestore.com] headset for listening to audio and taking calls.

    Then you just stream the data to yourself. Sure, it's harder to actually buy a track, but I only have 256MB of memory on my phone. I'm not going to fill that up with downloaded music.
  • by Churla (936633) on Friday November 03, 2006 @12:57PM (#16704469)
    The simple rule is TANSTAAFL [wikipedia.org]
    • by fm6 (162816)

      Which everybody thinks Heinlein invented because they first read about it in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. That's one of my favorite books, but that particular thing in it has always irritated me. Several reasons.

      First, it's typical geekish language abuse. You take a elegant, memorable, easy-to-understand saying, "There is no free lunch," which Alistair Cooke once suggested should be America's motto, and you convert it into a klunky, unpronouncable, hard-to-remember acronym. But of course an acronym is mo

  • by Nahor (41537)

    All I can say is: use Orb [orb.com].

    The only disadvantage is that you need a XP machine at home. But then, you can stream all your music that you already have, no need to buy it again. And it's not just music, you can also stream video, tv, photo, .... And on any device, not just your Cingular phone. And it's really free, no monthly fees or things like that.

    No way I'm going to pay Cingular for something so limited!

  • Everything is advertised as free here and it never is. There is always a fine print and as times go it becomes smaller and smaller and harder to find, read and understand. Such thing should be considered as false advertisement and there should be laws against it.

    This service looks exactly like many other music subscription services out there just that it's on the phone. For many people it makes sense to have a subscription than to purchase songs but not necessary for everyone.

    There are many people tha

  • A $15/month fee on a cell phone bill is pretty steep. Most people have a $30-60 monthly bill and this would be a big increase to them. So I'm thinking this price will fall or the service will fail.

    But what can you do once you (purchase) and download the song? Can you move it to another phone, when you upgrade or get a replacement? What is the storage capability of the phones that can justify the number of downloads that would justify the monthly cost? Offload to iPod or mp3 player, etc?

    I'll buy into these s
  • yes, it seems incorrect - but they have worded it correctly to make the whole statement true. It is, in fact, free to download the songs - however, it costs $15/month for the right to do so. So you aren't paying to download a song, you are paying for the right to download a song. Subtle difference - makes the statement correct.

    Having said that, I won't be opting in for this feature at any point in the near or distant future.

    In addition, I do think this is a step up from the "2.50 / download" fee that the
  • Are there data costs on top of the $15?
  • Microsoft, Apple, HP, Dell, and Gateway all announced their products are going to be free from now on. No charges at all! They hope to make up for this by "each new reference" (whatever the hell that means).

    Oh, and the catch is that it's not actually free, but still costs the same amount of money or maybe even more, but it's set up as a subscription.

    How did this make it up on slashdot? For anyone who believes this nonsense - I have some "free" products I would like to "give" to you for $99.95/mo.
  • Will it sound good? Napster's quality was so bad that it gave me a headache!

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