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Bowie, McCartney and Now Prince

Maybe the recording industry finally is getting hip to the idea that music lovers want to listen and buy on their terms. This week, the first single off Prince's new "Planet Earth" album, due out this summer, was made available through the Song ID service for Verizon Wireless VCast customers.

Last year, it was David Bowie that partnered a release with a Nokia phone launch and more recently, Paul McCartney's latest album, due out next week, is being released on Starbucks Entertainment's new Hear Music label. If it takes off, the Prince venture could be a boon for both the VCast service and the singer.

"Artists have to stay in the public mind and they have to stay hip," Jupiter Research analyst David Card told Reuters, noting that it's been a while since Prince's hit albums "1999" and "Purple Rain."

The technology behind Song ID isn't new. I first saw it a few years ago at the Consumer Electronics Show. But it's new to the masses - and could prove to be the boost that Verizon Wireless needed to generate some excitement around its VCast service. Here's how it works (and might I add that the commercial that's been getting some TV airtime actually explains it very well): User hears a song he/she likes, maybe while shopping in the mall or in a movie or even bumping from the car in the next lane at a red light. User holds up the phone and the VCast phone listens to the song, finds the track in a database and not only displays the name and artist but also provides an option to buy it and download it to the phone.

Of course, VCast and Song ID are not available on all phones. Check the Verizon Wireless Web site for more information about compatibility.

By Sam Diaz  |  June 6, 2007; 5:32 PM ET  | Category:  Sam Diaz
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Clips from the VCast-Prince deal are up at The NewsMarket:

Posted by: David | June 7, 2007 11:03 AM

I just find these exclusive releases to be something to generate free media attention. When the media stops covering these, then they'll start to disappear.

I don't like having to purchase music from artists I like from specific websites, cell phones or countries.

It is unnerving as a music collector of bands that I like to watch $50 disappear instead of $13 just to get a bonus song that was only available in Japan.

This current model is more of the same BS designed to suck money from our pockets.

Posted by: NoOneOfConcern | June 11, 2007 9:52 AM

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