Vodafone stakes a claim to music leadership

Vodafone says nearly 450,000 Vodafone customers have signed up to its music subscription services since it signed DRM-free deals with all four major labels in 2009.

The phone company reckons this gives it the largest number of paying music subscribers in Europe.

Over 100,000 customers signed up to one of a range of music services offered across the eight largest Vodafone markets in Europe in December alone.

Vodafone delivers DRM-free files in MP3 format, a fact that is driving its success. Consumers are demanding the freedom to use and abuse their music as they see fit.

Lee Epting, director of content at Vodafone said increasing smartphone use would continue to drive subscriptions.

Francis Keeling, a spokesman for Universal Music said his firm believes "strongly" in the future of music subscription services. "This year will put such offers to the test as never before, as consumers recognise their value, diversity and convenience," he said.