By Jo Twist
BBC News Online at Glastonbury
Festival-goers at Glastonbury 2004 have been getting a taste of making their own music with a new service launched by the Orange mobile operator.
Dub Pistols DJ Barry Ashford welcomed the music mixing service
Fireplayer allows music-lovers to pay to download a full track and mix it up how they wish on their mobile devices.
Users can add their own sound effects, such as vocals or bass, and can save the mix as their unique ringtone.
Also launching on 1 July is the first mobile music download service, which goes by the name of Music Player.
It lets music-lovers download and listen to full-length tracks for £1.50, without the need for a separate player device.
On the move
Orange has done deals with music labels, Warner Music and V2, to provide 20 tracks at launch for the services.
It is also finalising further deals with all the major record labels, as well as some indies, to provide more choice.
"Artists and labels are embracing mobile music more than ever," Mark Ashford, head of Orange entertainment told BBC News Online.
"It is a very different environment they are working in now, with lots of industry issues to sort out."
"But," he added, "for the first time, the music industry has given us their crown jewels."
Orange says the move to launch both new services shows its "commitment to music".
"The mobile music market is fast becoming a critical part of our business," said Beth Appleton, business development manager from V2.
"The continued growth and development of the mobile arena in the UK is very exciting and we look forward to seeing the results of this innovative partnership."
Mobile operators have been striving to find compelling applications and services which will tempt mobile customers to do more, and therefore spend more, on their mobiles.
Fireplayer is downloaded free through the Orange World portal, which Orange wants mobile users to see as their "community".
Once a track has been downloaded, for £3.50, users can chop it and mix it up as much as they like and save it as their ringtone.
It uses the truetone format which can be sent to other mobiles if they are compatible.
For nervous music labels, the fact that tracks are not very portable on to other devices is a paramount issue, said Mr Ashford.
Dub Pistols DJ Barry Ashford welcomed the music mixing service. "As long as someone pays for it, you have to right to own it," he said.
The second service, Music Player, allows users to download and play full-length tracks on their phone without needing a separate music player.
Previously, mobile users have been able to download ringtone versions of popular tracks, or copy MP3s on to memory sticks from a computer, to play on a mobile.
"For the first time, UK mobile customers will be able to download the actual tracks they hear on the radio and in clubs directly to their mobile phones," said Dr Bathsheba Malsheen, head of Chaoticom, which will be providing the music player.
The tracks can be previewed for free and can be played as the download progresses.
Again, the tracks cannot be played on another device because it uses a proprietary format called Koz.
This format means the tracks are compressed so that a three minute song is about 700Kb.
Music labels have been eager to stem the flow of illegal music downloads, and are trying to get in on the blossoming music download market, too.
They have also been closely monitoring the success of legal download services, such as iTunes, Napster, OD2 and others.
All these services require separate player devices.
"We are not presuming we are competing with iPod or iTunes," said Mr Ashford. "That is a completely different offering and experience.
"What we are about is a single device strategy to harness acts and bands and to bring it all together."