PlayLouder has scored a coup for its music service provider (MSP) business by signing up SonyBMG, the first major to embrace its model. To enjoy a walled garden peer-to-peer (P2P) music service, subscribers not only have to join but also change broaband provider as the MSP is a one-stop shop. As PlayLouder is powered by Bulldog, that’s not a problem if your in the Greater London area but outside that you’re taking your chances as to whether you’ll be able to get the service. Of course, that will change and as a proof of concept PlayLouder is showing that being an MSP could well have legs and I’m sure BT, AOL, Wannado and other ISPs are all watching closely.

It costs £26 a month and for that you get a wide range of indie music through a previous deal with AIM (the Association of Independent Music labels) and now of course SonyBMG. There’s no DRM and so no restriction of digital audio player that you can use and though PlayLouder do track what music moves around that’s to allow a fair distribution of revenues to the labels and rights holders.

Owen Gibson in The Guardian reports the story but seems to think it’s all new and buys the PlayLouder hook, line and sinker, which is unusual for Gibson, who writes well and with authority. However, the story was pushed into the main section of the paper so maybe the subs were editing for a different audience.

Virgin Radio took the idea around the record labels in 1998 but it was all a little too much too soon for them.