SKY TO PARTNER WITH UNIVERSAL MUSIC FOR INNOVATIVE NEW DIGITAL MUSIC SERVICE
OTHER MUSIC INDUSTRY PARTNERS TO FOLLOW SOON
London, UK, Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - Sky is to launch a ground breaking, easy and affordable new service enabling UK and Irish consumers to access music online. Universal Music Group, the world's leading music company, is the first to confirm its participation in the service, which will offer digital access to hundreds of thousands of songs from Universal Music artists such as U2, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Mika, the Killers, Snow Patrol, Luciano Pavarotti, ABBA, Rihanna, Eminem, Andrea Bocelli, Elton John and Duffy.
The new service means that, for a single monthly subscription, music fans of all ages can enjoy unlimited listening to a huge choice of songs as well as the opportunity to download tracks to own forever. A simple and great value way to discover a wide range of music, customers will be able to choose to stream songs on-demand for immediate listening or download tracks for playback at any time.
Providing a simple new way for fans to consume music, both streamed tracks and downloads to keep are available through just one monthly subscription, a world first. A range of subscription options will be available, offering different download packages tailored to customers' needs.
The service will also make it easy for users to listen to songs on a wide range of devices. Downloaded tracks will work on any mp3-compatible fixed or portable device, including ipods, mp3 players and mobile phones.
As the first partner in the service, Universal Music will provide an extensive and high-quality roster of artists at launch and will play a leading role in the service's ongoing development. To further increase the choice of music offered by the service, Sky is in discussions with other music companies, both majors and independents, and expects to announce further partners soon.
Mike Darcey, Chief Operating Officer, BSkyB, comments: "It's clear that there's huge demand for online music and companies like Sky and Universal Music are well placed to work together to meet consumers' needs. We aim to offer an easy and affordable service for all UK music fans, while ensuring that artists are properly rewarded for their creativity."
Lucian Grainge, Chairman and Chief Executive, Universal Music Group International, adds: "The new Sky service will provide a compelling digital music experience, built for the ever growing digital appetite of music fans. In a world where a majority of UK homes have high speed broadband access, consumers will welcome a safe, state-of-the-art service and legal alternative to those services which exploit musicians without compensation."
The online music service will be operated by a new joint venture company, in which Sky will be the majority shareholder. Sky will use its expertise in the delivery of subscription services as well as in content aggregation, packaging and marketing to support the service. There is also the potential to attract traffic to the service from Sky's current online portal and broadband access businesses. As the first partner in the service, Universal Music will offer access to its entire catalogue, as well as becoming a shareholder in the venture. Other key partners will be invited to take a stake in the future.
The new service is scheduled to launch later on this year. Further details, including pricing and branding, will be announced at a later date.