Sky Songs service ‘will rival iTunes’
BSkyB will next week launch its digital music service, Sky Songs, in a move designed to challenge the domination of iTunes and Spotify in the music downloads business.
After lengthy delays, the satellite broadcaster has signed deals with music suppliers EMI, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music, as well as a number of independents including The Beggars Group and PIAS Entertainment Group, which represents more than 100 independent labels and digital distributor The Orchard.
Sky Songs, which will be a subscription-based model, will charge users a fee each month to get access to song downloads. Sky hopes that this will attract customers away from Apple’s iTunes, which is based on track-by-track purchasing.
However, there will be no advertiser-funded element such as that used by Spotify, the website that provides free access to music but plays advertisements too. Although Spotify has been praised for discouraging consumers from illegal downloading, there has been concern over whether the website can generate enough advertising revenue to pay for its music.
The launch of another legitimate music service will be welcomed by artists and managers who are struggling to combat piracy.
Eric Daugan, of Warner Music Europe, said: “[Sky Songs] will offer access to unlimited music as well as premium fan-oriented content, whilst ensuring our roster of artists are appropriately rewarded for their creativity.”
The Government has promised measures to combat illegal file-sharing. Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, recently proposed powers that could suspend the internet accounts of repeat offenders. Each year, about 7.5m computer users in Britain and Ireland download tracks illegally. In recent weeks, many artists including Lily Allen and managers such as Paul Loasby, who manages David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, have spoken out in favour of the proposals.
However, the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), which represents acts such as Radiohead and Blur, said last month that it “vehemently opposes” plans to switch off file sharers’ internet connections. The FAC claimed that that despite the damage that file-sharing does to sales of their records, it can also encourage people to buy concert tickets and merchandise.
Sky Songs service ‘will rival iTunes’ – Telegraph13 10 2009