Virgin Media's music subscription service is late but still on track. The company's head of media relations said the service is "well progressed" but added the company is "still working" on licensing deals with content owners.

Virgin Media's ISP business serves about 4 million residential customers in the U.K.

Details on the planned service are not yet known. Last year, Virgin Media announced it had partnered with Universal Music Group to offer a music subscription service. At the time of last year's announcement, the service was to be launched by the end of 2009 and was reported to offer both unlimited streaming and MP3 downloads for a fixed monthly cost. In December, Virgin Media reiterated to its plans to offer an unlimited download plan.

But around that time, a source told the Guardian an unlimited download plan looked unlikely to happen. A month later, Rob Wells, SVP, digital at Universal Music Group International, conceded that the service could be different to its original proposition.

An unlimited download plan would certainly make headlines, but the marketplace has changed since Virgin Media first announced its subscription service. Cloud-based services have reduced the need for massive downloading and storing. Entire collections, as well as playlists, can be stored online. As a result, consumers are becoming more comfortable with access models.

But since mainstream music consumers are still buying downloads and CDs, and because access models don't yet provide ubiquitous service on any device, a subscription service with a download option could help ease consumers into adoption of streaming models. That is the approach taken by Sky Songs, the music subscription service of ISP giant BSkyB. But Sky Songs does not have an unlimited download option. It offers unlimited, ad-free streaming plus five MP3 downloads for £5 ($7.53) per month.