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Music2Text aims to revolutionise mobile music

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Starboy Nathan 'Diamonds'
A new service has launched today (July 19) that allows musicians and record labels to deliver single tracks and ringtones direct to their fans via text message.

Makers of the Music2text service claim that it has already been used to boost the profile of various artists, including UK R'n'B vocalist Starboy Nathan.

Music2text is designed as a "breathtakingly simple" way of selling or giving away music tracks and ringtones by text message.

The service works by people texting a song's name to 60444 to connect to a mobile music store, where they are given the option to download the track for free, 50p or £1, as determined by the record label or artist.

There are also options to stream or email the track, and follow the artist on social networks Facebook and Twitter.

Claimed to be the UK's only SMS-to-mobile music platform, Music2text is entirely free to use if the artist or label opts to give their track or ringtones away for free. It costs £20 if the label or artist want to sell their tracks, but they keep 100% of the revenue from sales.

Mobile phone keys
The service is intended as a way to tap into "impulse purchasing", as placing the text codes on artist's promotional materials, such as flyers or posters, or saying the code during media interviews, gives fans a quick and direct route by which to buy the song.

In the age of social networking, SMS can seem like slightly old technology, but according to a recent Ofcom report it is one of the primary ways in which people communicate, particularly in the 18 to 24 age group.

Music2Text also operates a policy of capturing people's mobile phone numbers to enable UK labels and artists to build up a database for future marketing campaigns - although this is strictly on an 'opt-in' basis.

The service has already been successfully piloted, including campaigns by UK hip hop artist Bashy (via Essential Music), Marvell and independent labels, who have all helped fine-tune the system through the beta.

Starboy Nathan used the service (via Absolute Marketing) to create a direct-to-fan marketing campaign during his UK tours supporting JLS, The Wanted and N-Dubz. Fans were able to get a free ringtone of his new single 'Diamonds' by texting Diamonds to 60444.



The code was included in all of the artist's marketing materials across press and social media, and also announced live from the stage by the artist himself, enabling his single to rise to number 23 in the UK Official Singles Chart. He also gained over 9,000 mobile numbers for future campaigns.

Single tracks are sent via SMS over 3G networks with no set-up costs, subscription charges or hidden fees. Music2Text is also fully complaint with PRS for Music and is chart-registered.

"The future for music distribution and promotion is undoubtedly in the mobile space and Music2text uses a mixture of tried and tested and cutting edge technologies to deliver a disarmingly simple solution," said Music2Text founder and chief executive Denver Thomas.

"The service has generated a great buzz, and user reaction has just been incredible. I am very grateful for all the positive feedback that is coming from within the industry."

> Napster: 'We've gone from devils to angels in music industry's eyes'

Music2Text is now in talks with major and independent record labels, global distribution companies and music management businesses about getting involved with the service.

Alongside music companies, broadcasters could use the service to turn music videos into sales opportunities by posting the text short-code online or on television. Channel 5 is said to be already in talks with the company.

Crown Music Management chairman and former MD of Island Records Marc Marot said: "This is a great example of a fully transparent mobile service that can accommodate all sectors of the industry, be it major, independent or unsigned."

Channel 5 creative director Rich Ritch added: "A clean and simple idea that will revolutionise how music is sold on mobile phones across a wide range of media platforms. Impressive technology and perhaps the next game changer for the mobile music business... This could be the one."

Music2Text works for all smartphones, but a major Achilles Heel for the service is that iPhone users cannot download any content unless it is directly through iTunes because Apple does not allow otherwise. However, users can email and transfer tracks direct to their iTunes library.

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