The PlayNow Plus Proposition: More Details

What else is there to know about PlayNow Plus, the upcoming bundled music service from Sony Ericsson?

Plus is an extension on the core PlayNow, a multimedia service that includes assets like ringtones, ringback tones, and over-the-air downloads.  A range of phones will be phased into PlayNow Plus over the coming quarters, though outside of the modified, inaugural W902 Walkman, Sony Ericsson has not given specific guidance.

Specific subscription details are likely to emerge closer to launch, expected within the next few weeks.  That includes both subscription and device premiums, and contract terms.  Sony Ericsson pointed to an initial pre-load of 1,000 songs, though users will enjoy “truly unlimited, all-you-can-eat access to millions of music tracks,” according to details shared by the company.

Sony Ericsson also described high-quality encoding, though songs within PlayNow Plus will be protected.  More details are also emerging within that category, though tracks will be formatted using eAAC Plus.  The use of DRM keeps songs within the gates – most likely defined by one PC and one phone – though Sony Ericsson also allows separate purchases of MP3s.  Those purchases will happen through the existing PlayNow Arena, a service that offers over-the-air MP3s and also features licensing from all four majors.

Additionally, Sony Ericsson indicated that users will be able to keep a certain number of MP3s after the PlayNow Plus contract ends, though a specific track count was not offered.  Sharing will also be a component of the offering, as will over-the-air track identification – and subsequent downloading based on matches.  Between platforms, Sony Ericsson also pointed to simplified synchronization between PC and phone using PlayNow Plus Desktop, a system that includes wireless updating.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.