Sony Music Australia has become the third key label -- and second major -- to sign-up for digital rights management (DRM) provider Destra Corporation's online music store. The pact will see Destra sel

Sony Music Australia has become the third key label -- and second major -- to sign-up for digital rights management (DRM) provider Destra Corporation's online music store. The pact will see Destra sell Sony downloads through its retail partners Sanity.com.au, HMV.com.au, JBHiFi.com.au and ChaosMusic.com.au.

Sony Music will initially provide more than 10,000 tracks and plans to expand its offering to 30,000 tracks over the next few months.

Billed as Australia's largest legal online music store, the Melbourne-based firm's Destramusic.com subsidiary already has content deals with Warner Music Australia and high-profile indie Festival Mushroom Records. "We expect the Australian market to follow some of the tremendous results being achieved in [digital music] in both Europe and the U.S.," says Gavin Parry, director of digital services at Sony Music.

Australian music merchants suggest digital sales have been slow to take off through local DRM companies because of relatively limited selection. Destra CEO Domenic Carosa says the company plans to boost its catalog from 100,000 to 500,000 by mid-2004 by signing up all other major labels.

The tracks, which sell for A$0.99-$1.99 ($0.80-$1.60), have built-in technology for customers to burn the songs onto a CD, or to download them to a portable media player. They cannot, however, be distributed via unauthorized Web sites or peer-to-peer services.