Verizon's Mobile Store Includes Tiered-Price MP3s, Lacks Obvious Reason To Exist

In becoming the first carrier to introduce MP3s to their mobile store, Verizon has highlighted an essential truth about crappy WAP stores: without DRM, nobody has any reason to use them.

Verizon is expanding their Media Store, which currently contains ringtones and games, mostly, with over five million MP3s, arranged in an iTunes-esque tiered price model, with a $0.99 base price and $1.29 and $0.69 rates for brand-new and classic tracks, respectively. Verizon's pitch is that this new service will give customers "choices and flexibility as they build their mobile music libraries." This isn't sinister or misleading, just based on a false assumption: that people want such a thing as a "mobile music library."

Most phones—Verizon's included—support MP3 playback, meaning that songs from iTunes Plus, Amazon, eMusic, etc. can be played without a problem. Transferring music from a PC is usually trivial, so peoples' "mobile music libraries" are just made up of their regular libraries. By offering MP3 downloads and a desktop client, Verizon is competing directly with the biggest players in the digital music industry, and while their store doesn't look particularly bad (it's actually got quite a nice interface), I don't see what it offers to lure users away from the proven download services they're already signed up for. [Channel Web]