Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here comes another iTunes killer

That iTunes has survived more would-be assassins than James Bond and Doctor Who combined doesn't seem to bother those who still trot out attempts at an iTunes killer. The latest media hat being thrown into the digital circle is that of BSkyB - who, lest we forget, are one of the country's biggest ISPs as well as a TV operator.

So far, though, their plans look a little weak. Only Universal is on board, and the idea is for a subscription model rather than a pay-per-tune approach. Most subscription services so far have struggled, partly hobbled by the tendency of tracks to disappear if you stop paying - although the Guardian's report sort-of-implies that the BSkyB service might offer mp3s, and thus not implode if you cancel your direct debit to Rupert. Like a major label eMusic:

The subscription will give users unlimited access to streamed tracks plus a set number of download-to-own songs, initially to Universal Music's catalogue of hundreds of thousands of songs from artists including Amy Winehouse, U2, Kanye West, Duffy, Rihanna, Eminem, Elton John and Abba.

Downloaded tracks will work on any device that can play MP3s, including iPods and mobile phones.

So, there's a potential appeal there - if the other labels get on board, and the pricing is right, the marketing muscle of Sky could offer a service which, while never likely to kill of iTunes, might just give Steve Jobs a nasty slap.