Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 14:03 UK

Sky launches net music service

Man listening to downloaded music
Some music download services have failed to take off

BSkyB is launching a new music subscription service for internet users in what it claimed is a world first.

The satellite television company, which also offers broadband access, is teaming up with Universal Music to offer digital access to hundreds of thousands of songs for a monthly fee.

Sky said other music industry partners may soon join the service.

The new service will launch late this year but details of subscription prices have not yet been made public.

DRM-free

But BSkyB's chief operating officer Mike Darcey said the aim was to reach the mass market. "Sky already has contact with one in three British homes through our television service," he said, "and we've got plenty of experience of running a subscription model."

BSkyB reckons it can succeed in denting Apple's dominance where so many others have failed
Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent, BBC News

Sky claimed the service was a "world first" because of its combination of unlimited streaming, downloads to keep, access to the whole Universal catalogue and the fact that the music can be played on any device.

The legal music downloads market is currently dominated by Apple's iTunes. Other companies have tried to offer subscription services without making much impact.

But BSkyB and Universal believe a service offering unlimited streamed music plus a set number of downloads for a flat monthly fee will prove attractive.

The music will be free of DRM copy protection software, so it will be available to play on any device, including Apple's iPod.

Pavarotti to Girls Aloud

The music industry has been pressing internet service providers to threaten broadband users who engage in file-sharing with disconnection.

Hand holding an iPod
No DRM means the music will work on iPods

It has been holding out the promise that ISPs can have a stake in the music business if they co-operate with a crackdown on customers who download copyrighted material.

BSkyB did not say specifically whether it now will be sending warnings to broadband customers who engage in file-sharing, but said that part of the aim of the new service is to ensure that "artists are properly rewarded for their creativity."

Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group said consumers would welcome a "safe, state-of-the-art service and legal alternative to those services which exploit services without compensation."

Mr Grainge said the service would offer everything "from Pavarotti to Girls Aloud" and would be "a lot more appealing than piracy."

Universal has also teamed up with the mobile phone giant Nokia to offer "Comes with Music", a service offering unlimited music to customers who buy a mobile phone.

But Mr Grainge said the Nokia partnership was aimed at individuals, whereas the joint venture with BSkyB was targeted at families.




SEE ALSO
Warning letters to 'file-sharers'
03 Jul 08 |  Technology
Music firms tune into new deals
30 Jun 08 |  Business
Rhapsody embraces MP3 music files
30 Jun 08 |  Technology
Time to take on the file sharers
13 Jun 08 |  Technology
Universal loses promo CD battle
12 Jun 08 |  Business
Album sales in the US suffer slip
03 Jul 08 |  Entertainment

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific