Sony has reached a host of deals with independent labels in the UK, France and Germany enabling it to offer 75,000 indie tracks through its forthcoming Sony Connect digital music distribution service.
Sony will open its digital music service for business in June. The newly added tracks will be made available in the US later.
The agreements represent the forward thinking of Europe's indie sector, in which labels involved are prepared to embrace new technology. Deals were reached with independent label bodies in the UK, France and Germany.
UK labels set to sell music through Sony's service include: Beggars Group, Cooking Vinyl, V2, Domino, Ninja Tune, Grand Central, Gut, !K7, Hospital, Seriously Groovy, XL Recordings, Warp and The Leaf Label.
Artists include Stereophonics, Liberty X, Franz Ferdinand, Cornershop, Dizzee Rascal, Grandaddy, Basement Jaxx, Elbow, Badly Drawn Boy, The Prodigy, White Stripes, Paul Weller, Mr Scruff, Roots Manuva, Coldcut, Underworld, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Orb, Dogs Die In Hot Cars, Seafood, London Elektricity, The Church, Billy Bragg, Tindersticks, Cocteau Twins, Laika and Richard Thompson, Rae and Christian, Fingathing, and Kate Rogers.
German labels artists available through the deal include: Intuit, Stella, Taxi, venus Malone and Grand Agent. French artists include: Kool and The Gang, Eartha Kitt, The Village People, Greg Di mano, Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf.
Sony Network Services Europe senior vice president Robert Ashcroft said: "Online music distribution is a key part of Sony's business strategy, and it is a prime objective to offer as much choice and as high a quality of music as possible. We are very pleased to have completed deals with so many highly respected independent labels who have long had the reputation for breaking important acts and pioneering new styles of music. We look forward to continuing to expand our catalogue in the future."
Steve Johnston, head of licensing at Musicindie, which negotiated the AIM (Association of Independent Music) agreement, said: "We have concluded an important milestone deal with Sony Connect, which is set to become a key provider of digital content this side of the Atlantic. We look forward to seeing the service open for business in multiple territories across Europe in the near future".
AIM vice chairman and managing director of Ninja Tune Peter Quicke said: "Sony Connect is a big step on the way to making digital distribution a reality in Europe and giving music punters a real alternative to illegal peer-to-peer services. So we are very pleased to be involved"
Beggars Group head of new media Simon Wheeler said: "Beggars Group and XL have been extremely proactive in licensing our catalogue of highly respected artists and labels for online and digital sale over the last six years. Sony's Connect service is a valuable addition to our ever-growing series of digital licensees. With the continued consolidation in today's media, online services will be vital in helping all independent labels reach the widest possible audience."
Sony Connect's song prices will start from £0.79 per track, or from £7.99 per album.