HP to Roll Out Music Service

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It seems that Hewlett-Packard is to offer a built-in music service with its PCs as they ship, rather than having users register for any old service later on.

Word comes via YahooNews of the move, which will see HP launching its own music service through the relatively simple medium of PCs it sells on to customers. Indeed, that could well be a more substantial market than most will have imagined, given that HP is currently the largest vendor of PC hardware in the industry (with Acer fast catching up). We’ll be curious to see just how well HP’s new service does, as well as how many of its users opt to stay with it once they’ve got their hands on their machines.

HP is to launch its service, in cooperation with Omniphone, in Europe for now, which isn’t too surprising since it’s already offering the generally quite similar Rhapsody from RealMedia in the US. For those with an eye towards a HP machine in the next while, it’ll be worth noting that Omniphone’s service is similar to those offered by Spotify and Rhapsody, and sees users paying €10 a month for unlimited streaming access, rather than a pay-per-download model.

It’s a curious move, but one that could well see HP and Omniphone benefit tremendously, given HP’s penetration and Omniphone’s apparently solid service. Still, for those of us in Ireland there are still some question-marks over the whole thing. While we’re told that HP will be moving to provide the service in Britain, relatively few music services have made the jump from the UK to Ireland.

Indeed, it’s a gulf that so far seems only to have been bridged by pay-per-download models, which are (for fairly obvious reasons) a little less attractive to many web-savvy users. We’ll just have to wait and see, but fingers-crossed we’ll see the streaming service available in Ireland.

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