Sony Corporation will launch a marketing blitz in Europe this week for its new Connect music download store, the latest effort to derail the runaway momentum of Apple Computer's iTunes service. The Japanese consumer electronics giant said last Thursday it would heavily promote the Connect service in new advertisements for four Walkman products, including the recently launched NW-HD1 hard disc player. Also, Sony said its second wave of European expansion is still on track for later this year as the battle for Europe's Web-savvy music fans intensifies.
Meanwhile, last Wednesday, Apple said it would announce a series of new European markets in October 2004 that would enable music fans in most of Western Europe to buy song downloads from iTunes.
Sony and Apple currently operate music download services in Britain, Germany and France. While Sony has not released any updates, most people think it is trailing Apple's iTunes in Europe. It may have something to do with the confusing look and feel of many Sony websites.
Sony and Apple are keeping details of their launch plans a closely guarded secret. However, Sony said in July the Nordic and Benelux regions, plus Austria and Switzerland, were regions it expected to enter in the future.
Analysts say it will take a few years before download services will provide a significant sales boost for music companies. One major problem is the bewildering array of competing technologies that limit where fans can buy downloads and then transport them onto their devices.