eMusic jumps into bed with Alltel

From time to time I like to highlight eMusic-related business deals. Here’s a new one (not mentioned on the eMusic press release page): eMusic will be the featured music provider for Jump Music, a new service from Alltel Wireless that lets cellular subscribers download music from their PCs to their mobile phones. Alltel is the fifth-largest wireless provider in the US, and is rumored to be an candidate for acquisition either by private equity firms or by Verizon. (Both Verizon and Alltel use CDMA technology.) Although Alltel claims to have the largest wireless network in the US (based on geographic extent presumably, not on total number of subscribers) it’s not that well known because its main markets are in the flyover states.

Presumably Alltel picked eMusic both because it offers lots of DRM-free music (making it easy to work with MP3-capable mobile phones) and also because as number 2 behind the iTunes Store it’s willing to do deals with smaller companies (as I noted in my discussion of the Johnny Rockets deal). As Apple and AT&T prepare to roll out the iPhone it will be interesting to see what other US-based mobile operators do to match the iPhone/iTunes offering. It may be that eMusic has had similar discussions with other mobile operators—I guess we’ll see.

In any case I can amuse myself with the thought of the city slickers from eMusic visiting the quiet burb of Little Rock, Arkansas (Alltel’s headquarters) to hammer out the deal. I hope they had a chance to stop by the Bill Clinton museum and catch a glimpse of one of his saxophones.