Sony brings Music Unlimited to Android
Compatible with all Android devices running version 2.1 or later, the subscription-based app provides access to more than 7 million songs on Sony’s Qriocity network from all four of the major US labels.
Qriocity—launched in April of 2010—was introduced with the idea of utilizing the tens of millions of users on the Playstation Network, offering them a portal to stream music, games and videos.
Music Unlimited, the music arm of the service, was launched overseas in late 2010 and came to the US earlier this year. Since its inception, it has only been available on PCs and Sony devices (Playstation 3, TVs, etc).
The move to Android opens up the fastest growing smartphone market to Sony, and marks a major departure from their history of Sony-only past offerings.
The basic tier ($3.99/month) of the Music Unlimited service offers a Pandora-like Internet radio, with access to all 7 million songs through a series of curated music channels. Users can fast-forward and rate songs without having to view ads. Music Unlimited even offers a scan-and-match service similar to the one iTunes Match will offer upon its eventual release, though it does not include the option to upload tracks missing from the Qriocity library. In typical Sony fashion, it is also only compatible with Windows PCs.
The premium tier ($9.99/mo) includes everything in the basic tier plus on-demand playback those 7 million tracks. With the introduction of the Android app, all those tracks can now be played on smartphones with 3G or Wi-Fi connections.
Omnifone’s music streaming technology and Gracenote’s music ID database power the backend of Music Unlimited, which is now available in the U.S., France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
It will be interesting to see how popular the service will be with Android users. Music streaming veterans Rhapsody have apps on BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices, yet still struggles to reach ubiquity. And with reports that Apple, the most successful of the digital music retailers, doesn’t make much profit from its store, it begs the question: can Music Unlimited turn a profit for Sony?