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UPDATE UK ISP BT Launch Internet Music Streaming Service for TV Users

Friday, November 29th, 2013 (10:32 am) - Score 1,537
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BT and Universal Music haven’t given up on their long held plans to launch an Internet-based music streaming service and indeed one is about to be introduced, albeit at a cost of £3 extra per month (FREE to their TV Unlimited customers).

Broadband ISPs first began discussing the prospect of offering legal music streaming and download services some years ago. The aim has always been to work with Rights Holders and facilitate the development of new legal ways for people to access related content on the internet (here), which would discourage the use of “illegal” (unlawful) P2P copyright file-sharing activity (Internet piracy).

But so far it hasn’t really worked. Sky Broadband briefly managed to get their own music service (Sky Songs) off the ground before realising that nobody was especially interested in another Spotify clone (here). Since then Virgin Media has entered a special partnership with Spotify but ISPs have generally failed to offer a truly fresh and original alternative, largely because rights holders have often chosen to constrain their ambitions.

As a result it might surprise some readers to learn that BT are giving the idea another bash and, according to The Guardian, the service will initially only be available to the operators TV subscribers. Apparently it will launch with only 150 albums worth of music tracks but this should soon expand to 1,000+ albums.

The newspaper claims that BT’s Music service, which has been in beta testing for around two months and is expected to launch “imminently“, also has the support of EMI, Sony Music and Warner. It’s an interesting development but between Spotify, iTunes and Amazon the market for Digital Music is already quite well developed and only something truly different could change that, if only Rights Holders would allow it.

UPDATE 2:03pm

As expected the service has now been officially announced and the details are the same as previously reported. BT has already started to email its BT TV customers to highlight the new service and to offer it as an option to customers building their own subscription package.

Alex Green, Director of BT TV, said:

We are really excited to have signed this contract with Universal Music and we are hopeful we can sign other deals with more labels in the near future.

This takes our Music offering to another level, at no additional cost to customers. It will allow them to enjoy a whole album at times when they are not necessarily able to sit down and watch the TV.”

In addition, BT TV’s recent deal with BSkyB (Sky Broadband) means their customers can now add 11 of the Sky Movies channels for £16 a month.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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