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Sony preps PlayStation 'music download service'

Message: 'don't buy an iPod, buy a PSP'

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Sony is to make a second attempt to challenge Apple's lead in the digital music download market and the Mac maker's almost-ubiquitous iPod courtesy of the PlayStation Portable.

According to a Marketing magazine report, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) plans to launch a music service specifically for the PSP, which is expected to arrive in Europe and the US in March.

SCEE will put the delivery mechanism in place in time for the handheld console's launch, using it to allow users to download game levels and software updates. However, the system will be extended to music in the summer.

Given the PSP's multimedia focus, it's entirely possible the service could subsequently be used to deliver video downloads.

Sony already runs a music download service, Connect. Launched in the US in May 2004 and in Europe in July, the service was criticised for failing to match the likes of Napster and Apple's iTunes Music Store for easy of use. Certainly, the service does not appear to have grown to the extent that its rivals have, and Sony has said little about Connect in the intervening months.

Whether the PSP music service will leverage Connect or use an entirely separate system is not yet known. ®

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