Sky music service

BskyB is preparing to launch an unlimited digital music service to rival Apple’s iTunes offering internet access to songs for a monthly fee. The satellite broadcaster is working with mobile music specialist Omnifone on the technology needed for the service.

Any broadband user will be able to listen to as many tracks as they like either through their computer or their television. Users can also download and keep their favourite tracks which are free of DRM software to be played on any device.

The broadcaster is also testing ways of tying in the service with its satellite and broadband packages to make them more attractive. But it wants to make the ¬service available to anyone with a broadband connection.

Sky announced its intention to enter the digital music market last July as it clinched a deal with Universal Music. Sky expects to launch the service in the spring.

Omnifone already has deals with the major music labels and has the European rights to a catalogue of about 5m tracks. Its new service, called MusicStation Next Generation, allows ISPs to provide those tracks to their customers under their own brand names. The service can pipe music through set-top boxes as well as PCs and Mac computers.

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