Sony Europe announced that it will launch an electronic music download service in Europe, starting from June in the UK, France and Germany. The service named "Connect" will offer a large catalogue of more than 300,000 songs, including albums and singles from both major and independent record labels. Tracks will be available in the ATRAC3 format at a price starting at EUR 0.99 per track, or GBP 0.79 in the UK. Through Connect consumers will be able to purchase music online in an easy-to-use, integrated and secure way downloading it to a wide range of Sony portable devices, such as Hi-MD Walkman, Net MD Walkman, Network Walkman and ATRAC CD Walkman. The company says that at time of launch more than 2 million portable Sony devices in Europe will be compatible with the new service.
"Connect is an integral part of Sony's global strategy to empower consumers to enjoy music in more ways than ever before by offering a truly easy-to-use service with seamless connectivity to secure Sony portable audio products," says Robert Ashcroft, Senior Vice President at Sony Network Services Europe. "With music being at the heart of this new consumer experience we will offer a unique catalogue proposition for each country which includes not only international but also a wealth of local artists."
The Connect service will work with SonicStage 2.0 music management software. SonicStage 2.0 provides seamless access to Connect and is supplied with the latest Sony network audio devices. Current users can upgrade from previous versions of SonicStage.
From 18 March 2004 users can get more information about the service in advance of the launch and about the upgrade to SonicStage 2.0 through a special information web site.