Sony To Launch European Online Music and Mobile Radio Services

At CEBIT, Sony has unveiled the European version of its Internet music store Connect, as well as announced plans for the first “personalised radio” service to mobile phones which consumers can tailor to their own tastes.

The European opening of its Connect music store is in June, and consumer can buy songs from 0.99 euros apiece and download them on their computer before exporting them to Sony minisdisc players and walkmans. It is relaxing restrictive usage rules of its SonicStage player which no longer limits the number of copies per song.

A version for the United States, competing with Apple’s hugely successful iTunes Music Store, was announced in January. Connect will start in France, Britain and Germany with 300,000 songs from the five major labels, including Sony Music, plus independent publishers and national and regional artists.
Sony also said it is talking with “almost all” mobile telecoms operators across Europe to bring personal radio to handset users, starting the service with the Finnish arm of TeliaSonera in April. Consumers can tailor the music stream by pressing a button on their phone to indicate they like or dislike a song.