Microsoft Australia today announced a partnership with Australian music retailer, Sanity Music to deliver the first integrated online music subscription service in Australia.

“The Sanity service will give Australian Windows Vista customers access to more than 1 million tracks to download via Windows Media Player 11 (WMP11) and will offer both subscription and purchase options when it goes live in April 2007.

Available directly from Windows Media Player 11, with no need to open a browser and bring up an external website, the new Sanity service aims to be faster and more searchable than existing online music stores.
Through the site subscribers will have access to up to 300 new tracks per month said.

Any international ‘PlaysForSure’ and upcoming ‘Windows Vista Certified’ devices will work with the new Sanity service, including personal music players made by Toshiba, Samsung, Creative, iRiver and SanDisk.  The service will be the first of its kind outside the United States for Windows Media Player 11.

Denis Handlin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sony BMG Australia said, “We welcome this initiative from Microsoft and Sanity.  The Sanity service contains a huge music library across multiple genres and it represents a substantial step in advancing legal digital music services in Australia.”

On the first visit to the Sanity service, WMP11 downloads a metadata catalogue (an offline version of the catalogue) to your PC.  On subsequent visits, this catalogue automatically updates any changes that have occurred.  So instead of querying the internet and waiting for a reply, with WMP11, the subscriber can conduct a local search of the copy of Sanity’s catalogue that’s already on their PC.