MSN UK's Executive Producer Peter Bale has explained the reasons behind the delays to the new MSN Music download and streaming service.

The new service allows the popular UK portal to integrate music services such as guest playlists and tracks into its editorial content, as well as offering a paid services and a streaming service for a small number of invited testers.

Originally the new MSN Music functionality was mooted back in July, but, after well-publicised delays, has only just arrived, using much of the architecture of Microsoft's Zune music service.

Bale, who called the service an 'incremental but important' addition to MSN Music – taking a pronounced step away from original media reports of a rival to Spotify – told TechRadar that a number of reasons delayed the service.

Announced too Zune?

"It was partly about getting the service right," explained Bale. "Getting the [music] labels on board has been time consuming and there has been a lot of expansion of the Zune service in the US which had an impact on us.

"On top of that there has generally been a lot of turbulence in downloads, streaming and the music industry generally and we've been caught in the backwash.

"Ideally I would have loved to have launched the service earlier in the year."

Not Spotify

The streaming service, something which sparked the earlier comparisons with Spotify, is available initially for only a limited number of invite-only participants, but it is the integration with the popular and well-respected MSN Music editorial content that Bale believes will be the most visible aspect of the new service.

"This is an additional accompaniment to the pictures, text and video in the music channel – which is number two to MySpace in the UK if you take out iTunes and things like that," he added.

"Streaming and download are complementary to our editorial content. We're integrating music into our current music content offering."