As expected, Sony Corp.'s new pan-European digital music service Connect has signed content deals with three key European independent label associations.

As expected, Sony Corp.'s new pan-European digital music service Connect has signed content deals with three key European independent label associations.

The license deals--with AIM in the U.K., Germany's VUT and UPFI in France--mean an estimated 75,000 tracks will be available on Sony Connect when it launches localized versions in those markets this June. Repertoire from such artists as Stereophonics, Franz Ferdinand, the Prodigy, White Stripes and Paul Weller will feature.

Those licensed tracks will also be available to Connect's U.S. operation, which is scheduled to go live at the same time.

More than 100 member labels are participating, including British labels V2, Grand Central, and Beggars Group, German labels !K7, Groove Attack, Vielkland and Eleganz, and France's Naive, Scorpio Music and AB Disques.

"We look forward to expanding our catalog in the future," says Robert Ashcroft, senior VP of Sony Network Services Europe, the Sony Corp. subsidiary operating Connect. There was no comment on when content licenses will be inked with the majors.

Prices for single downloads starts at £0.79 ($1.40) in the U.K. or €0.99 ($1.20) in the other two markets, while album pricing begins at £7.99 ($14.5) or €9.99 ($12) respectively.

Customers will be able to transfer downloaded tracks from their PC to compatible audio devices such as the CD and MiniDisc Walkman and the Hi-MD Walkman.