“Sony Corp. entered the bourgeoning digital music market Tuesday, launching an online music download service that the electronics and media conglomerate is banking will also generate sales for its line of portable audio players,” Alex Veiga reports for The Associated Press. “The service, dubbed Sony Connect, offers more than 500,000 tracks from artists on major and independent labels. Like Napster 2.0 and the iTunes Music Store from Apple Computer Inc., Sony Connect sells individual tracks starting at 99 cents and full album downloads beginning at $9.99.”
“Sony’s entry into the online music market comes more than a year since the launch of iTunes and months behind about a dozen other pay music sites and subscription services. Like Apple, which used its online music sales as way to drive sales of its iPod digital players, Sony hopes to turn a profit for its own array of audio players,” Veiga reports. “But doing so will depend largely on whether Sony can draw music fans who have not already invested in iPods or other music players – which cannot play song files in Sony’s ATRAC3 format – to buy its own brand of audio devices.”
“‘They’re behind the curve already and they have to play catch-up on two fronts, on selling their audio players and getting people to use their music service,’ said Michael Goodman, senior analyst with the Yankee Group in Boston. ‘There’s roughly three to four million people that have already placed that bet,'” Veiga reports. “Users of Sony Connect need to download its SonicStage interface and player to play the songs. Araki said the software can convert MP3 files to the higher-quality ATRAC3 format. The program also enables users to burn audio CDs that can play on any CD player. Sony Connect adopts the same copy restrictions that most other services do, allowing songs to be transferred to up to three PCs and transfers to compatible portable audio devices. Up to 10 audio CDs can be burned with the same track listing.”
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