By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: To celebrate the launch of the new drag and drop capable Walkman video MP3 player (S-series), Sony Australia is offering a free BigPond Music voucher for purchasers to download $20 worth of tracks from

For the first time on a Walkman, users can drag and drop music, video and photo files directly onto the player — eliminating the need for software.

The BigPond promotional offer starts 1 November 2007 with purchase of the Walkman S-series, available in 2GB, 4GB or 8GB storage capacity. At only 50 grams, the new Walkman is compact and lightweight. It is available in six colours and has a long battery life enabling up to 33 hours of music playback or 9.5 hours of video viewing.

“BigPond is delighted to be partnering with Sony on this great offer which is sure to be a winner with music fans across Australia,” said BigPond group managing director, Justin Milne.

“The $20 music download bonus provided with the Walkman player is the perfect way to get started by downloading and enjoying any one of the tracks on the huge BigPond Music catalogue, from the current top 10 tracks or albums nationally, to the latest Australian Idol performances.”

Sony stated that the new Walkman’s open standard offers consumers more choice.

“From the first Walkman Video MP3 player launched earlier this year to our new S610 series, Sony’s focus has always been on superb audio and video quality,” said Suzanna Gan, Personal Audio Product Manager at Sony Australia.

“Now, by introducing an open standard, we are increasing the consumer’s choice of content and enhancing the versatility of our Walkman products. Ultimately, music-lovers can now decide how they want to purchase and manage their content and benefit from the superior sound and video technology on offer in our new players.”

Music downloading took the music industry by surprise, but Sony’s music and entertainment division is fighting back.

“The partnership between BigPond and Sony is an exciting step forward, said Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s general manager, sales and digital, Gavin Parry.

“With the digital music market in Australia growing at approximately 50 per cent per annum, this partnership will provide significant opportunities to both artists and the industry overall.”

The Walkman S-series is compatible with security-enhanced Windows Media Audio and supports most subscription music services. The new players are also among the first to carry the Certified for Windows Vista, meaning they have passed a series of compatibility tests including PlaysForSure verification.

“Products that carry the Certified for Windows Vista logo have met explicit standards of reliability and quality, and have been tested and proven to deliver a superior experience with Windows Vista,” said Microsoft Corp group product manager, Justin Jed.