After some delay, Sony have today launched the Sony Connect music download and play service, in UK, France and Germany.
Connect will follow the same pricing as the European version of Apple iTunes, 79p () in the UK and 99c () in Europe, but number of offered tracks will be smaller – around 300,000 tracks.
What currently makes the COnnect offering unique is access to music on Indipendant record labels. Apple negotatioation broke down with the Association of Independent Music (AIM), who represent many UK labels. Sony has been successful with AIM and their European equivilents, VUT (Germany) and UPFI (France).
As with the US version of Connect, the music downloaded will be protected with the ATRAC3 Digital Rights Management software, and will only be playable on Sony music players such as Hi-MD WALKMAN, Net MD WALKMAN, Network WALKMAN and ATRAC CD WALKMAN, or via Sony’s computer software – SonicStage. Sony say they currnetly have around 2 million players in Europe and hope to add to these figures with their new hard disk models.
Sony originally planned to launch the service in June, but were slowed down in negitiations with music labels.