Sky Songs wants to rival iTunes

Great, here comes another music service that believes it’s the answer to Apple’s iTunes.

Sky Songs, which will launch next week in the United Kingdom, is a subscription service that combines streaming music with MP3 downloads. Users, who do not have to subscribe to Sky’s television service, pay £6.49 or £7.99 per month for either 10 or 15 downloads per month, along with unlimited streaming from Sky Songs’ library of 4 million tracks, Macworld UK reports.


The service reminds me very much of the current day Napster, which is offered in the United States. Napster costs $5 per month and includes 5 DRM-free MP3 downloads, along with unlimited streaming from an impressively large online music library. With Napster, the value is in paying the same thing you would for five iTunes tracks, but with the added benefit of an entire library to stream on your computer.

Sky Songs has an even better value, because for just over the cost of 11 iTunes tracks, you’re getting 15 songs plus the streaming. The 10-song plan is also less money than 10 tracks on iTunes.

But with a minimum of 10 songs to purchase each month, Sky Songs is a tougher sell, because it’s a bigger commitment. For music aficionados, it’s a no brainer, but consumers that only download a handful of tracks per month might not want to be locked in for more than what they usually spend. Sky’s business development director, Neil Martin, told The Guardian that Sky wants to bring the service to mobile phones and set-top boxes, but that’s likely to incur greater payments to the music industry, and therefore greater costs to the consumer.

For now, Sky sits in limbo between Spotify, which offers free ad-supported streaming, and the straight per-download nature of iTunes. While some people might find this to be the best of both words, I see it as more of an underdog to iTunes than a rival.