Sony Music plans secure downloads

Diskery combats piracy

In a move designed to counteract rampant Web piracy, Sony Music Entertainment announced plans to make secure commercial downloads of singles available in the U.S. via various e-tail operations by the end of this month. This comes on the heels of a similar BMG Entertainment strategy announced last week (Daily Variety, April 7).

SME’s initial rollout will consist of more than 50 songs by artists from across Sony Music spectrum.

“We are committed to working with a broad range of retailers from Tower Records’ click-and-mortar operation to Alliance Entertainment, which services more than 25 retailers’ Web sites,” Sony Music Distribution chair Danny Yarbrough told Daily Variety. The initial rollout will be available via thestoreatsony.com and Sony Electronics’ musiclub.com.

These songs will be formatted for playback on Microsoft Windows Media Players with Sony’s ATRAC3 plug-ins and can be downloaded to compatible, SDMI-compliant portable devices such as Sony’s “Memory Stick” and “Netman.”

The songs will be priced comparably to CD singles.

Once consumers have downloaded a song, they’ll be able to e-mail it to a friend. However, in order for the recipient to open that file, the user will have to connect to a participating e-tailer and pay a lesser fee (12% for the first pass-along and 2% less for each subsequent pass-along, bottoming out at 6%) for the privilege.

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