Sony’s confused music marketing strategy

A couple of days ago Engadget reported on the new Sony Ericsson W800 Walkman phone which comes with MP3 and AAC support. Copyfighter Derek Slater points out that this means that Sony markets a device that is incompatible with its own Connect online music store—Connect offers downloads in Sony’s proprietary ATRAC3 format wrapped in OpenMG DRM, which does not allow conversion to MP3 or AAC.

In fact, the situation is even worse; remember this news of a couple of weeks ago?

Sony BMG expects that by year’s end a substantial number of its U.S. releases will employ either Sunncomm’s newly enhanced MediaMax or First4Internet’s XCP to address piracy concerns.

This basically means that all Sony music for the U.S. market will soon be incompatible with Sony’s own W800.

Note that the situation in Japan (where the W800 is not available) is quite different. Sony Music Entertainment Japan does not produce CCCDs any longer and Sony Ericsson cell phones with MP3+AAC support do not exist; the only Sony devices that come close to the ‘cell phone+music player’ model are DoCoMo’s Music Porter and AU’s recently announced W31S, both of which support ATRAC3. (Note: the W31S also supports aacPlus.)

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  1. And Fujitsu’s F901iC and F700i that offer seamless integration with iTunes!! As per the comments here:

    » Scott on March 16th, 2005 at 15:30

  2. That was fast, Scott. :-)

    However, as I was talking about in-house (in)compatibility, I really was only looking at Sony products here – made that more clear in the text now with the addition of the word “Sony”, in front of devices.

    » Andreas on March 16th, 2005 at 16:34

  3. No worries, Andreas. On a related note, you might be interested in the following article that covers Docomo’s mobiles with music playback capability:

    » Scott on March 16th, 2005 at 18:32