EMI Music UK has agreed a deal with The Carphone Warehouse which will make Robbie Williams the first artist ever to release an entire album plus video content on a Memory Card - a tiny stamp sized device that slots straight into a mobile phone to deliver music on the move. Recognising the potential for this new trend is EMI Music UK and the UK’s largest independent mobile communications retailer, The Carphone Warehouse; which will be selling the cards exclusively across its 600 UK stores from next month. The sound quality will be comparable to that of a CD.

Robbie’s record company, EMI, and The Carphone Warehouse believe the new format marks the start of another era in digital music – one that will make it more tangible and accessible, especially to people without internet access.

The memory card market has exploded since camera phones took off last year. They are revolutionising the way people use audio, video, communications, and information devices and appliances. All of the latest mobile handsets are now designed for memory cards to be slotted into the back. Revenue for retail sales of memory cards next year is estimated at £100 million.

Danny Van Emden, Digital Media Director at EMI Music, comments, “The UK is in love with the mobile and it’s the one device that we know our artists’ fans have with them at all times – so the memory card is simply the next logical chapter in the affair. The format looks and sounds great and offers the same visuals as the physical CD, but in a completely new, neat pocket-sized package.”

The Robbie Williams memory card is the pioneering product in The Carphone Warehouse’s new mobile entertainment brand, playmobile®, which will also launch next month. Set to capitalise on the current ringtone phenomenon and the forthcoming 3G boom, playmobile® will bring quality value for money content to customers for the first time. It will focus on real brands, real artists, and real music and will extend to ringtones, games, wallpaper, video clips and loaded memory cards.

The Carphone Warehouse’s Director of Group Business Development Kevin Gillan explained: “2004 has undeniably seen a massive, and very mainstream, shift towards digital music. We see pre-loaded music memory cards as the next step and part of a general consumer hunger for more mobile content. playmobile ® will go beyond this and provide our customers with a quality experience at real value for money.

The Carphone Warehouse is already in talks with EMI to deliver more pre-loaded memory cards this Christmas.

Editor’s notes

About EMI Music – Digital Media Division
EMI Music was the first major record company to establish a dedicated Digital Media division in 1998. The division, headed up by Danny Van Emden, the Digital Media Director, is responsible for the digital activity of EMI Music UK and Ireland and its individual music labels. In addition, each of EMI Music’s record labels - EMI Records, Innocent, Parlophone, Virgin and the catalogue division - has a Digital Media Manager responsible for developing artist specific new media opportunities, promotions and web presence.

The Digital Media division develops many of the company’s digital cross-marketing and artist promotions; providing exclusive content; managing data capture and eCRM systems; and monetising EMI Music’s assets across the digital media. The division is also responsible for the EMI Music aggregate site, www.the-raft.com, which has been running for 11 years and won multiple awards.

With in house skills in journalism, programming, photography, SEO and design, the team are able to generate the right mix of copywriting and creativity to exploit a range of commercial opportunities. Working with EMI’s Commercial Digital team, Digital Media has worked with retail, brand, online and mobile organisations. This year alone, the division has agreed a number of crucial deals with high profile partners including OD2, i-Tunes, mycokemusic, Napster, Orange and Vodafone Live.

Websites developed for well-known artists include Kylie.com, Kelis.co.uk, thethrills.com, nerduk.com, thedivinecomedy.com, doves.net and jamelia.com. The team is also responsible for creating artists’ web shops, selling physical products and exclusive merchandise, as well as developing mobile shops and download platforms.

EMI Music UK is part of The EMI Group, one of the largest music companies in the world and listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Anna Vickerstaff
immediate future Ltd.
0845 408 2031/07810 308 426

Vanessa Tipple
The Carphone Warehouse
07947 00 00 21

Published on: 12:00AM on 20th October 2004