T-Mobile today announced an expansion of its Music Freedom plan, in which smartphone subscribers get unmetered data streaming of music from partner sources. Six new services have been added to the original slate of services, announced in June. The newly added partners are AccuRadio, Black Planet, Grooveshark, Radio Paradise, Rdio and Songza. (AccuRadio founder and CEO Kurt Hanson is the founding editor of RAIN News.)
The new streaming sources join the original pack: Pandora, Rhapsody, Slacker, iTunes Radio,Spotify, and iHeartRadio.
When the Music Freedom plan was introduced, we called it a game-changer. With data caps being a bottleneck on mobile use of music services, removing that cap seemed beneficial to online audio generally — at least, for the approved sources. That was an understandable sore point for service not in the plan. (See this guest column by Rusty Hodge, founder and operator of SomaFM, one of the most established and popular indie pureplays.)
The expanded plan is an incremental answer to those complaints, and possibly foretells a series of further additions bringing explsing more players to T-Mobile customers. But it is not the global technology solution that some wish for, in which streaming audio is recognized by medium, not by source, and shuts off the data meter no matter where it comes from.
John Leger, CEO of T-Mobile, seems to echo that goal when he says, “Our goal is nothing less than to setall your music free, and we’re well on our way.” The company crowdsources user voting on included services, and part of today’s announcement noted that Google All Access was requested the most by T-Mobile users. That platform will be added “later this year.” (Songza, a new partner as of today, was acquired by Google in July.