UK digital music retailer Wippit today announced that it has signed a licensing deal with Sony Music UK.

Though Apple remains reticent on its European music store plans, such information this morning shows that backstage activity in the online music space here is intense. The UK Association of Independent Musicians (AIM) today also announced a deal with Napster, making homegrown indie-label content available through that service on its UK launch.

Wippit will make a "broad array" of Sony tracks available "this summer", the company announced this morning. Artists include Beyoncé, The Coral, Prince, The Manic Street Preachers and Anastacia.

The UK service also offers music from "more than" 200 other labels. Sony's tracks will be available through Wippit's à la carte download service, which offers tracks in both MP3 and WMA formats.

Sony Music UK chairman and CEO Rob Stringer said: "This announcement marks an important addition to our roster of distribution partners in the UK market, and we look forward to working with Wippit as they continue to grow the business, and provide music fans with quick and easy access to the music they want."

Even more activity is planned, Stringer hinted: "We also look forward to announcing special initiatives, including exclusive track offerings that will be made available through the service in the weeks and months ahead."