HP is to announce the launch of MusicStation, a music service that will come be preloaded on 16 of HP’s personal computer models across Europe.
The service which already has a counterpart in the US, run by RealNetworks’ Rhapsody, has been developed by Omnifone, an independent unlimited music service provider.
Omnifone already powers the devices some significant players devices including the likes of Sony Ericsson and Vodafone.
The gloves are off and HP are intent on competing against Apple’s iTunes service which has begun to feel lacklustre when compared to the likes of Spotify. That said, Apple’s iTunes is still the leading digital distributor on the planet and has a proven pay-per-download business model.
“As the world’s biggest PC vendor, HP has huge opportunity to create a viable competitor to iTunes due to its scale,” said Rob Lewis, chief executive of Omnifone.
However, HP’s product is closer to Spotify’s approach that iTunes. Customers will pay around 10 euros ($14.13) a month for access to all music in HP’s service. They can try the service for free for 14 days, and keep 10 tracks each month.
Spotify charges €11/month, does not allow its users to keep tracks but does allow for ‘offline’ storage making them available on the iPhone, android and desktop.
With the service essentially being sold via their 20 million personal computer sales a year, HP unquestionably has the reach to give Apple and Spotify a run for its money. However, with Spotify becoming increasingly popular and Apple’s ever popular iPhone and iPod, it will be interesting whether HP/Omnifone can provide a viable alternative.