Almost 15 months after first announcing the service with Universal as the first major on board, leading pay-TV provider and Internet Service Provider BSkyB is finally about to launching its digital music service.

Sky Songs offers access to over 4 million tracks for download and ad-free streaming. All four majors have licensed their repertoire, along with various indies such as Beggars Group, PIAS Entertainment Group and those represented by the Orchard and IODA.

The service launches Oct. 19 at http://songs.sky.com and is available for anyone with a broadband connection, although Sky broadband customers who access the site will receive a free downloadable album worth £6.49 ($10.25) to celebrate the launch.

Sky Songs offers a mixture of unlimited streaming, as well as an allocated number of tracks or an album in MP3 format to keep as part of a monthly payment, and subscribers can also purchase additional music on a per-track or per-album basis from 65p ($1.03) and £6.49 respectively.

Customers have two subscription options: £6.49 allows the user to download an album in that price category or 10 songs to keep, along with unlimited streaming access for a month. Or for £7.99 they can download an album at that price or 15 songs, and receive unlimited access for a month.

Mike Darcey, Sky's COO, comments: "Our music partners bring an outstanding catalog and unrivalled expertise that complements Sky's strengths in content distribution. Sky Songs will reach out to consumers who want legitimate digital services offering choice, ease of use and great value. Offering legal access to digital music is a vital step in combating illegal downloading. "

The Sky service includes new releases as well as back catalog.

"Sky has an impressive track record in engaging fans of all kinds of entertainment with compelling, easy-to-use services," commented Eric Daugan, SVP, Digital Business, Warner Music Europe, in a statement. "This flexible music platform offers access to unlimited music as well as premium fan-oriented content, whilst ensuring our roster of artists are appropriately rewarded for their creativity."

Graeme Ferguson, SVP Digital & Strategic Partnerships, Sony Music U.K., said: "We welcome Sky's compelling new broadband music service - our repertoire together with Sky's expertise in marketing content will be very attractive to consumers."

Andria Vidler, president, EMI Music U.K. and Ireland, also commented in the statement. "Sky has proven expertise in running first class consumer services and we welcome their entry into the music market," she said. "The widespread adoption of DRM-free downloads has helped drive new digital music services and with Sky's launch we have another major player who will help our artists and their music reach an ever wider audience."

Adrian Pope, director of Digital and Business Development, PIAS Entertainment Group, added: "The entry of Sky into the market represents an exciting development not least as their market presence and understanding of a successful user experience has the potential to provide a truly compelling service."

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