Having spent a day at a music and mobile conference, I can safely confirm that mobile operators are sticking firmly to the plan that if you stick your fingers in your ears and say ‘la la la la la’ enough, then whatever you’re avoiding doesn’t really exist. The talk was all of licensing and over the air downloads. Hello? We’ve been trying that for a year and guess what … nobody wants! Why pay 3,4 or even 5 times more for the same song with even more restrictions on use than buying from iTunes or Napster.

Even the mention of sideloading brought a slightly uncomfortable shudder that reality or perhaps an elephant that no one wanted to mention was in the room.

Let’s break this down. Folks want music that they can buy for the going rate, move from one device to another (maybe even onto a phone for kicks) and add to their collection. Any mobile offering that starts from that point has a shot. Everything else? Well, I wouldn’t invest my life savings in them.

3 is the first major network in the UK to offer dual downloading. It’s a little fiddly with multiple trips to get the same track on two devices and costs £1.50 a song but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Orange will *let you* convert your songs and upload them to your phone…

Speaking of music and mobiles, Wired has a good feature running through the Apple/Motorola/Rokr show. As a phone/portable player, it’s pretty average but as a proof of concept it’s very cool. See, we’re back to the one collection, multiple devices scenario.

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