Sony Music Australia has leapt into the online subscription business via its music portal.

Bandit first went live as a download-only MP3 store in November 2008, and currently has more than 187,000 members, according to Sony Music Australia.

Ending six months of conjecture, the major label has now pressed the button on its Music on Tap plan, which enables customers unlimited streaming of Bandit’s 1 million-plus catalog. Repertoire is licensed from all four majors and various indies, including Inertia and Liberation Music.

Effective immediately, unlimited streaming is available to Australian consumers at three separate price points and three subscription models.

‘Music on Tap’, an all-you-can-eat streaming function costs $10.99 Australian ($10) per month, while two additional new offerings entitled Load & Go and the Best of Both Worlds are each priced at $15.99 Australian ($14.60) per month with the restriction that members must sign up for a minimum of three months.

Load & Go is the download-driven option, which gives its members $40 Australian ($36.50) in MP3 credit each month. The Best of Both Worlds subscription model, meanwhile, amalgamates the Music on Tap streaming option with $20 Australian ($18) in monthly download credit. However, titles from Universal Music and some indie labels, including Inertia and Liberation Music, aren’t available to download through these two plans.

Sony's unlimited streaming plan was initially intended to launch last October, but the date slipped to accommodate the other two options.

“When we did the original licensing deals with all the labels, we included Music on Tap from the beginning. Definitely, there’s a (consumer) move toward streaming,” Gavin Parry, GM of digital at Sony Music Australia, tells

“When we surveyed the database, the demand for Load and Go and Best of Both Worlds was such that we had to go back and get that license,” he went on to say. launched in November 2008. It’s existing MP3 store is currently ranked No. 3 in the market, according to industry sources, placing it well behind iTunes but neck-and-neck with the BigPond Music service.