British pay-TV giant BSkyB, a broadcaster 39%-owned by Murdoch's News Corporation and chaired by his son James Murdoch, said on Monday that it was launching Sky Songs, a digital music service to challenge Apple's iTunes in the music downloads business.
The service, which is set to launch on Oct. 19, would give consumer access to over four million tracks for download and ad-free streaming, rivaling Apple's iTunes. Mp3 files can also be downloaded from its Web site songs.sky.com, said BSkyB.
Users will be able to get new releases and catalogues from every major music label as well as a comprehensive range of independent labels and distributors. All of the services will cost users a monthly fee of 6.49 pounds ($10.25), according to Forbes.
The service aims to attract customers who want legitimate digital services, according to Mike Darceym, Chief Executive of Sky.
Some analyst believes it will struggle to capture market share from iTunes, which dominates about 70% of the legal music download market.
The reality is that the online music retail market is device driven, and iTunes has managed to give consumers a seamless experience when downloading music onto their iPods, Forbes reported, citing Dan Cryan, analyst with Screen Digest in London as saying.
Other analyst holds that Sky may tackle a completely different segment of the market without taking market share from Apple.
iTunes has failed to break away from a niche market of iPod users, Mark Mulligan, an analyst with Forrester Research said. Sky Songs is looking to engage with the mass market and it has the advantage to be offered as part of an integrated package for Sky's TV users.