In the months leading up to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone release here in the U.S., companies such as Samsung and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) were clamoring to upstage the launch of the heavily hyped device. Even if a consumer-products company didn't have a direct answer to the iPhone, they were often trying to find a way to ride the coattails of the iPhone buzz.

With more than a million iPhones now having been sold in the U.S., attention begins to turn to the European stage, where the iPhone is expected to launch by year's end in several markets. And just as we saw stateside, many European product manufacturers and service providers are taking their swings at releasing their own hip mobile-media solutions. Megacarrier Vodafone (NYSE:VOD) -- which apparently balked at Steve Jobs' terms that would have let it carry the iPhone itself -- just announced its thunder-stealing service in the U.K.: a flat-rate, all-you-can-eat music-download service called MusicStation.

Featuring a $4 weekly fee for unlimited downloads from a select collection of labels, including EMI, Warner Music Group, Vivendi's Universal Music Group, and Sony's (NYSE:SNE) BMG, MusicStation marks an aggressive leap into flat-rate music services. The service is aimed squarely at competitor O2 -- rumored to be the iPhone's exclusive British carrier -- in the highly saturated and ultracompetitive U.K. market.

The launch of the MusicStation service accompanied the unveiling of Vodafone's latest suite of next-generation phones for the Christmas buying season. Much like the iPhone, the lineup of feature-rich phones from the likes of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Samsung also have the capability to access hot Internet sites such as eBay, News Corp.'s MySpace, and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube.

Verizon Wireless, Vodafone's U.S. venture with Verizon, is hoping to nibble away its own piece of the mobile-music market, with a partnership aimed at directing its wireless subscribers to its V-Cast music store rather than to iTunes. Device manufacturer Nokia has even joined the mobile-music party with the recent launch of its own branded music store, called Ovi.

It remains to be seen, though, whether the market can support all of these solutions -- and whether subscribers are willing to shell out close to $20 per month for music. My bet is that the various platforms will have some success but won't take much away from the significant share of the mass market that Apple enjoys.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock enjoys music on his iPod, even the occasional Wiggles and Veggie Tales tunes that the kids put on there. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Vodafone is an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy is the encore you've been waiting for.