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UPDATE Sky Broadband Revamps Music Service Plans

Posted: 17th Feb, 2009 By: MarkJ
BSkyB (Sky Broadband) looks set to revamp its plans to offer an online ISP based music download service after revealing that it was holding talks with Omnifone concerning the use of their new MusicStation Next Generation service.

Sky had initially intended to launch an online music subscription service with Universal Music (July 2008 news), which would have offered "unlimited" listening with a huge choice of songs to download via a single monthly subscription.

Omnifone's new service sounds much the same and claims to give ISPs the ability to offer legal unlimited music download services, giving consumers a legitimate alternative to downloading music illegally over P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing networks:

“Tens of millions of European consumers are engaged in music piracy every day. Whilst government pressure is growing, we also need to deliver alternatives that recognise the needs and desires of the YouTube generation,” says Rob Lewis, CEO of Omnifone.

“Omnifone is offering consumers something better than piracy. MusicStation Next Generation gives consumers legitimate unlimited access to the world’s music, in audio and video format, direct to their living room, through set-top box or personal computer, in partnership with their ISP or cable company.

Broadband providers can deliver a better music experience; a legal alternative to piracy that differentiates their consumer proposition
”.

MusicStation Next Generation music powered services are expected to be bundled with monthly ISP subscription plans, as well as being offered to existing customers on a Pay As You Go (PAYG) basis. Omnifone also provides the MusicStation download service to Vodafone.

Excluding Sky and Vodafone, it is not yet known how many other ISPs could be in discussions with Omnifone over the service. We also do not know what kind of pricing will be offered and whether or not the service would be forced upon new customers or offered as an option.

UPDATE - 14:20pm (New Information and Clarification):

Sky has been kind enough to help clarify some points for us regarding the above news item. Firstly Sky's discussions with Omnifone relate to development work taking place for Sky's already announced music download service and not as a replacement.

Omnifone are a technology partner and will be supporting with some back-end infrastructure work, though Sky itself shall deal with all rights negotiations and licensing. Sky will also develop its own consumer facing application and is not using Omnifone’s end-to-end platform.

The service will also be available to all UK consumers with a broadband connection, not just Sky customers. Sky concludes by saying that they are in advanced discussions with a number of major and independent labels and music publishers and hope to conclude those negotiations shortly.
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