Sony Music Unlimited now streaming tracks to the US

Let's hope Sony's new streaming music service -- just launched today for the US, Australia, and New Zealand -- isn't as unwieldy to use as its "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" moniker suggests. The service features six million tracks from Sony Music Entertainment, Universal, EMI, and Warner and is available on Sony's own devices including the PS3, Blu-ray disc players, Bravia televisions, and VAIO PCs. It'll also be available on Android smartphones soon with an iOS app coming later this year, assuming Apple's new subscription debacle doesn't derail Sony's plans. A basic membership provides an interactive radio experience for $3.99 per month while a premium $9.99 per month service gives subscribers on-demand access to the Music Unlimited library with the ability to manage your music through playlists and the like. Sony also provides a useful service that scans your local library and playlists to "jump start" the organization of your Music Unlimited collection. Wonder how it'll work on the NGP and PlayStation tablet?

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Feb 17, 2011 08:00 ET
'Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity™' Available Today in United States, Australia and New Zealand

TOKYO and FOSTER CITY, Calif., Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Corporation ("Sony") announces that "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity™," will be available today in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

"Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity™" is a new, cloud-based, digital music service which gives music lovers access at any time to a constantly growing catalogue of millions of songs from major labels including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music as well as leading independent labels and major publishers worldwide. The "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" catalogue will initially offer about six million songs and will continue to expand over time.

The service debuted in the U.K. and Ireland in December 2010 and became available in France, Germany, Italy and Spain in January 2011, representing one of the fastest global roll-outs ever seen for a digital music service.

Users can play music any time through "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" on a wide variety of Internet-connected Sony devices including Sony's 2010 and 2011 models of network-enabled BRAVIA® TV, Blu-ray Disc™ player, Blu-ray Disc Home Theater system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system as well as VAIO and other personal computers. All existing PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems in these countries will have access to the service. It will also become available on a wide range of Sony's portable devices, as well as on Sony and third-party Android-based mobile devices and other portable devices.

"As we expand 'Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity' around the globe, it signifies a paradigm shift which redefines the existing music listening experience by revolutionizing music access, discovery, integration and personalization," said Kazuo Hirai, President of Networked Products & Services Group, Sony Corporation. "Through Sony's high quality network-enabled devices, we are focused on delivering dynamic services 'powered by Qriocity' to offer global customers with compelling digital entertainment propositions."

"By combining real choice and convenience, a fully integrated entertainment experience and global reach, Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity provides a compelling new way for fans to connect with Universal Music's market leading roster of artists and their music," stated Rob Wells, President of Global Digital Business at Universal Music Group.

"We are very supportive of a cloudbased music service such as Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity – it's about consumer convenience and access to all the music you want from all the devices you have," said Thomas Hesse, President of Global Digital Business, U.S. Sales and Corporate Strategy at Sony Music Entertainment. "It starts with the living room, which has really been underserved in terms of digital music. There has not been much innovation in the living room, yet that's where more than 70 percent of consumers say they listen to music. Sony has a unique position in the living room, with its PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, for example, connected to the Internet, televisions, and surround sound systems in millions of living rooms around the globe."

"When we look at U.S. consumers, we see a large segment that we characterize as 'lean back' who are frequent listeners to terrestrial radio and listen to more than 20 hours of music a week. This is a very committed and engaged segment that loves music. They will be reached in the digital living room before they would be reached through the current digital music offerings," said Michael Nash, Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy and Business Development at Warner Music Group. "Sony has listened to the consumer and has devised a service that is very well targeted to this marketplace opportunity."

"The expansion of Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity into the US and Australasia provides a great opportunity to grow the digital music market further in both regions," said Mark Piibe, Executive Vice President - Global Business Development at EMI Music. "Sony Network Entertainment, together with their partners Omnifone and Gracenote, possess tremendous reach and a compelling new platform for consumers to discover and enjoy the music they love. This is a welcome addition to the digital music market, and we are happy to support it."

"Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" Features

With Basic ($3.99, AU$4.99, NZ$5.99) and Premium ($9.99, AU$12.99, NZ$13.99) monthly subscription plans, "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" offers breadth of content and easy music discovery features cited as most important by music enthusiasts.

The Basic plan works as an infinite ad-free radio station and subscribers can listen to dozens of personalized channels – categorized by genre, era as well as mood through SensMe™ *1 – without the requirement to download or manage their music files. Additionally, the Premium subscription plan offers a one-time 30 day Premium free trial enabling users to listen in full to every song on demand, create personal playlists of favorites, and gain access to premium Top 100 channels which are regularly updated with the latest hits.

By studying users' listening habits, incorporating their 'like/dislike' song ratings, analyzing their existing music collections and more, "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" adapts to users' music preferences and constantly tailors music channels to offer the most compatible and enjoyable list of songs. Therefore, the more you listen, the more uniquely personalized your music channels become.

Furthermore, users can also synchronize their existing music files and playlists from other media players including iTunes® into "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity," and enjoy their existing music at any time across all compatible devices*2.

Powering the back-end of "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" are Omnifone™ and Gracenote®. Omnifone provided its award-winning platform services to develop and deliver the service across a range of device platforms as well as licensed the service with rights holders around the world to provide a global catalogue of more than six million tracks, while Gracenote's music identification and discovery technologies and Global Media Database create a rich experience for subscribers, letting them enjoy their existing digital music collection and discover new artists and albums within the service.

Sony also debuted "Video On Demand powered by Qriocity™," the first service 'powered by Qriocity,' in April 2010 in the U.S. Currently, "Video On Demand powered by Qriocity" is also available in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the U.K. Through the same log-in ID & wallet*3, users can access both "Video On Demand powered by Qriocity" and "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" across their compatible devices*4.

*1 SensMe™ is Sony's proprietary 12 Tone Analysis technology to evaluate music tracks
*2 Applies to DRM-free music files and to music which has been licensed for playback on "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity"
*3 PlayStation®Network users can use their existing PSN log-in ID & wallet to access "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity"
*4 Applicable in markets where both services are currently available i.e. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.S. and the U.K.

"Qriocity™" is a trademark of Sony Corporation
"PlayStation®" is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
'"iTunes®" is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

SOURCE Sony Corporation