Sony to launch iTunes rival in Irish market

14 Apr 2005

BORDEAUX: Consumer electronics giant Sony is planning to launch its Sony Connect music store to the Irish market this summer, has learned.

The music store that Sony is positioning to rival Apple’s iTunes music store as the Japanese electronics maker’s Walkman MP3 technology squares up against Apple’s iPod music player.

It is understood that the music store, which is currently live in the UK, France and Germany, will feature not only music from the Sony Music label but hundreds of thousands of tracks from a number of other major labels.

In recent years, through advances in its hard disk and removable flash memory technologies, Sony could have claimed first mover advantage in the digital music revolution. However, the company at the time didn’t move fast enough and allowed Apple with its iPod and iTunes technology to exploit the early adopter market.

However, in the past year Sony has been working aggressively to raise the stakes in the personal audio business and in recent days the company unveiled a new Network Walkman, the NW-HD5, which boasts 40 hours of playback on one battery charge and carries up to 13,000 tracks. Yesterday it was reported that plans by Sony Ericsson to bring out a Walkman phone this summer would be capable of storing between 512MB and 4GB of data.

The president of Sony Europe, Chris Deering, told “People want to buy songs and we have worked at developing the technology that will make it easier for people to get access to the files and pay for them.”

Deering said the music industry had been decimated after failing to exploit the potential for digital music but now the standards exist to build viable business models. “The music industry has a great future ahead. It’s been through a difficult period but is now standing strong.”

By John Kennedy