Sony prepares to launch an MP3 service...

Music giant SONY are the latest company to join the download race.

Sony Europe is hoping to beat off competition from Napster and iTunes when it unveils its Connect MP3 service in June.

Launching in the UK, France and Germany, the service will feature a catalogue of more than 300,000 songs which can be downloaded onto a range of Sony portable devices.

Tracks will be priced from 79p upwards and the UK will have its own Connect website, repertoire and individual music news.

Sony Europe’s online music services director, Gregor Erkel, told Music Week that there is a “high chance” of Connect launching in Britain before Napster and iTunes.