HP computers get Omnifone preloaded

HP has announced that it'll be launching its own streaming music service that'll be pre-loaded on sixteen models of its desktop and laptop computer range. The tunes will be supplied by UK-based Omnifone, which also runs a mobile music service called MusicStation.

When customers buy a new HP computer with the service installed, they'll get a 2-week free trial of unlimited music downloads, after which a month's subscription will cost £9 in Britain, or 10 euros in Europe. The music comes in .wma format, loaded with DRM that'll deactivate the music as soon as you stop paying your subscription. However, you'll get to keep 10 un-DRMed MP3s each month, too.

HP gets a music service that's rather like the Rhapsody service that it already pre-loads in the USA. Omnifone gets more customers. But it seems unlikely that the deal will do much harm to the likes of iTunes and Spotify, loaded up as it is with the kind of DRM that has already been widely rejected in other services by the consumer market.

However, the service will be available in 10 European countries - Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria. The bundling approach is likely to target a market that may not even have heard of the likes of Spotify, which is only active in six of those countries.