On OnMobile Global’s recent earnings conference call, one of the comments was on telecom operators choosing to bypass content aggregators like Hungama Mobile and Mauj, and platform companies like OnMobile (which is also aggregating content); There is an opportunity for telecom operators (higher up in the content value chain) to do direct deals with music labels by paying royalties themselves, and leveraging their scale. Now Reliance Communications has gone ahead and inked an exclusive direct deal with Universal Music, to launch a Simply Music Initiative, with seemingly “substantial investments”.

Simply Sliced & Diced Plans; What Is A 3G Music Service?

Two new plans have been freshly hatched:

– The Simply Music Gold Pack at Rs. 25 per month: 3 full length track, 3 ringtones, 4 callertunes and 30 minutes mobile Radio Web streaming.
– The Simply Music Platinum Pack at Rs. 99 per month: 10 full length tracks, 10 ringtones, 10 callertunes and 100 minutes of mobile Radio Web streaming.

This format of piece-mealing music will probably work in small towns until the phase III of FM radio auctions in the country. Also, for everyone reporting on this development as a 3G music service…what exactly is a 3G music service?

The Music

Universal will offer its entire catalogue of international and Indian music to RCOM, including Indian & western billboard artists such as Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, The Black Eyed Peas, Enrique Iglesias, Eminem, Lady Gaga among others. The two are planning to host concerts together as well. The tie-up, according to RCOM, is a prelude to their 3G launch. From now on, isn’t everything a prelude to the 3G launch?

Remember that Bharti Airtel has laid claims to being India’s largest music company in India – though, frankly, it’s a distributor, not a producer.

RCOM’s says its agreement with Universal Music is in line with similar deals signed by Universal with other operators across the globe including with UK Orange, SingTel, Digi Malaysia, Bouygues Telecom, France Orange, Belgium Base and other Eastern European Operators.