Sky's digital music streaming service, which it hopes will rival Apple's iTunes and Spotify, will launch next week.

Sky Songs, which was unveiled at the beginning of the year, will offer users access to four million tracks for £6.49 or £7.99 per month. It was also allow users to download either 10 or 15 tracks, in MP3 format every month.

The service is also seen as Sky's attempt to try and offer legitimate alternatives to downloading songs from blogs and file sharing sites freely.

"Our music partners bring an outstanding catalogue and unrivalled expertise that complements Sky's strengths in content distribution. Sky Songs will reach out to consumers who want legitimate digital services offering choice, ease of use and great value," said Mike Darcey, Sky's CEO.

"We want millions of homes using this regularly," Neil Martin, Sky's business development director told The Guardian.

"We're looking at a lot of the things out there, and you need to know a hell of a lot about music, or a hell of a lot about technology. For a mainstream audience, it needs to be pulled back a notch."

Users will reportedly not have to commit to a year's contract but can "dip in and out" of the service. Sky Songs goes live next Monday, 19 October.

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See also: Sky+ app for iPhone launches