Sky and Universal Music partner to launch subscription music streaming and download service

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sky_universal_logos.gifSky has partnered with Universal Music to launch a subscription-based music service offering both streaming music and “keep forever” download tracks.

The venture has just been announced, and the service doesn’t appear to have a name yet — at least, not a public one. Claiming the model is a world first (a claim I’m sceptical about), Universal Music will give it a flying start by making its entire catalogue of music (including U2, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Mika, the Killers, Snow Patrol, Luciano Pavarotti, ABBA, Rihanna, Eminem, Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, and Duffy) available, while Sky continues to negotiate with both major and independent music companies.

Downloaded tracks will be playable on a wide variety of devices, including iPods and the iPhone, with a range of subscription options available to suit a wide variety of customers.

It’s not yet known how Sky will deliver music, though I’d expect it to be primarily via a new web site, possibly with additional software akin to iTunes, which will no doubt be heavily promoted, and potentially also via Sky+ boxes and broadband services.

More details (of which we need many) will be available at a later date. Specific, eh? It will be interesting to see whether Sky’s might in the broadcasting arena translates into the crowded digital music arena.

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Andy Merrett