Sky to run music subscription service

Sky is to take on iTunes with a new digital music service that will allow customers to access music online. Universal Music Group has already confirmed its participation in the venture, bringing with it several thousand songs from artists that include U2, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Mika, the Killers, Snow Patrol, Luciano Pavarotti, Abba, Rihanna, Eminem, Andrea Bocelli, Elton John and Duffy.
The broadcaster said in a statement that other music partners, including both majors and independents, would follow. The service will be operated as a standalone company in which Sky would be the majority shareholder. Further details and the range of subscription packages will be announced later this year.

Unlike iTunes, where tracks can be purchased individually, the Sky service allows subscribers to listen to a wide variety of music online, streaming songs on demand, or downloading for later playback. It will also be possible to download individual songs to keep. Similar services have met with customer resistance because cancelling the subscription has meant the customer loses access to their personal music library.

The service is compatible with a wide range of mp3 compatible devices including iPods, mp3 players and mobile phones.