BSkyB advances plans to launch music service

BARCELONA - BSkyB has advanced its plans to launch a music service to rival Apple's iTunes by signing a deal with UK company Omnifone to work on the venture, which could launch this spring.

BSkyB signed an agreement in July with Universal Music, whose artists include U2, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Mika, the Killers and Duffy, to launch a music service allowing UK and Irish consumers to access thousands of music tracks online for a monthly subscription. 

At the time Sky said that customers would be able to choose to stream songs on-demand for immediate listening or download tracks for playback at any time with a range of subscription options available offering different download packages tailored to customer needs.

The two companies also said that the service would make it easy for users to listen to songs on a wide range of devices including iPods, mp3 players and mobile phones.

Reports from the Mobile World Congress said that BSkyB is in talks with Omnifone, which offers unlimited music services on mobile phones and works with Vodafone, to do development work on the venture.

Sky plans to roll out its music service to broadband customers and non-broadband customers alike for a small monthly fee.

The service would allow users to pay an additional fee as part of their monthly broadband subscription to receive music, and where the technology is available, music videos could also be streamed via the set top box to the television.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that BSkyB was close to a rollout and that it would be officially announced at Mobile World Congress.

Having signed Universal last summer no other music labels have yet been added.

A spokes for BSkyB told Brand Republic: "Although our launch schedule has slipped a little, discussions with a range of major and independent labels are progressing well. We're also hoping to conclude appropriate arrangements with music publishers in the very near future."

 

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