updated 11:45 am EDT, Mon April 19, 2004
Sony\'s digital music plans
Details of releases are revealed in a New York Times article today. Sony's Connect music site, set to launch in a few weeks, will offer 500,000 songs for 99 cents a piece, like iTunes, but will employs Sony's own format, which will be compatible with a myriad of Sony devices. The company has also entered into promotional partnerships with McDonald's where every Big Mac purchase will include a free download, and with United Airlines, which will allow customers to redeem miles for songs. On the hardware front, Sony is betting that customers will appreciate its various offerings, slated to cost from $60 to $300. "You can't believe it's about just one brick that people will carry," a Sony executive says, referring to the iPod.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, however, said the minidisc player would not catch on in the United States the way it had overseas: "We have a very healthy respect for Sony," Mr. Jobs said in a telephone interview. "But Sony believes very strongly in the minidisc, and we don't. It might work in Japan but not here." Apple's most expensive iPod, by contrast, uses a hard drive that can store up to 10,000 songs.
Sony's new Hi-MD disc player, for example, will hold up to 45 hours of music on one $7 disc, while a flash memory player will be able to hold 22 hours of music and run for 100 hours on a single charge. Still, the jury's out among analysts as to whether Sony will be able to recoup its marketshare from Apple and other digital rivals.