Sony launches music-streaming service

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CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury

Sony has launched a new music-streaming service in Australia today, which offers users access to up to 6 million tracks without the need for downloads.

sony music unlimited

The Music Unlimited service offers a choice of 6 million songs and up to 100 channels. (Credit: Sony)

The Music Unlimited service will be available in two options: the Basic package (AU$4.99/month), which enables users to access up to 100 different channels of music; and the Premium (AU$12.99/month), which allows users to listen to individual tracks and playlists from the whole library plus access to the streaming channels. Pricing is the same across Australia and New Zealand.

The service is accessible from Bravia televisions, Blu-ray players, PlayStation 3 consoles, PCs via Qriocity, and home theatre systems; mobiles and portable devices such as the PSP are still in the pipeline.

Sony Computer managing director Michael Ephraim said the service has the support of all the major record labels and some independents as well.

"Clearly, it's the intention to get all the music in the world almost on the service, so you just can't beat the range," Ephraim said.

He claimed that the Music Unlimited plans were more economical than the Apple iTunes service.

"You download a track on iTunes — a buck 69 — six tracks later you've spent 10 bucks. With this service in a month you can listen to maybe a thousand tracks," Ephraim said.

The service offers the ability to sync a user's personal library to "the cloud", enabling listening on the go without the need to download them onto a new device.

The Music Unlimited service is part of Sony's Qriocity platform, which will expand in the near future to include other digital content including movies and ebooks with access from a single account. It also includes PlayStation Network accounts.

Sony's technology communications manager Paul Colley said that network services such as Music Unlimited will be the "killer app" of 2011.

"In the next 12 months there'll be over a million connected devices in households from Sony alone," Colley said.

"We're really focussed on making sure, through Sony devices — whether it be a PlayStation 3 or a Bravia or a home theatre system — that you get access to the best content that you can," he added.

Colley refused to comment on the recent demise of Nokia's Comes With Music service, but said streaming services were popular.

"I think the key thing about Music Unlimited and Qriocity in general is it's very clear if you look at consumer trends and consumer habits that cloud-based service — wanting it now, when I want it, where I want it — is absolutely where consumer behaviour is moving. The Qriocity service is ready and able to take advantage of that trend," he said.

The service will make use of Dolby's Pulse technology, based on AAC, to deliver the music, and according to Paul Colley it is "four times more efficient than any codec we've been using to date".

Ephraim said while there weren't currently any deals in place to provide the content unmetered via ISPs, he said the file sizes were relatively small and "not an issue".

"You don't go to JB and buy a TV and ask 'what's the electricity plan?' because that's just a given, and that's where broadband is going — it's a utility," he said.

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Nick posted a comment   

Quie good, listening to it now! I don't totally understand why everyone thinks it is crap. You can access a wide library of entertainment from one service with an internet connection. I think it is very practical instead of buying/downloading thousands of tracks and storing them on your device.


Jay posted a comment   

Qriocity? Really?


Cam posted a comment   

I had a go at it worked fine on my TV, I prefer to buy and own the music, but did notice one important point, the music sounds so much better than the music you buy via iTunes, why is that, I have not been happy with the sound of music from iTunes.



premacy2003 posted a comment   

I tried using the service but the Icon is not showing in my PS3. All the latest updates are installed. I rang Sony and they told me to do a Hard Reset. Did not work. Then they told me to reset all settings and still did not work. Then they said a supervisor would contact me. They never did. Sony is happy to take the money but sadly ignore any problems and leave loyal customers in the dark. After having spent hundreds of dollars in the Playstation Network I feel cheated.


ganga posted a comment   

Sony really should not complain that consumers want to download music without paying royalties. They and their counterparts started that situation anyway when they started marketing "RADIO CASSETTE PLAYER RECORDERS" I recall when they were brand new technology being sold with the advice that; "now you can have a COPY of any music you like"


WalkThePlank posted a comment   

Considering anyone can obtain music for free, why the hell would I be paying for it anyway? I don't about the legalities as there is always a way around the system. Fact it, I wont pay for music no matter what.


Mark posted a comment   

When I attempted to record music streamed from radio stations I discovered it was low quality (low bit rate). This is probably an anti piracy technique and it works great, what is the bet that this streaming service will also be low quality?


g1nchy posted a comment   

Microsoft you got done again. First with Smartphones and now with Zune music subscription service. You are too slow .. to old .. You had a great offer but only wanted to stick to the united states like Elvis. Imagine if Elvis toured the world.. PHAWW.. Balmer must be the colnel.


CoA posted a comment   

I like it, the interface needs some work and the range has some interesting omissions (Bush's first two - and most popular- albums), but bandwidth use is negligable through my PS3. I won't bother using it through my phone though so don't have that limitation. And I have never used Grooveshark so can't make that comparison.


SonyAUHater posted a comment   

Have they thought that the consumer will have to use up their data usage at home if streaming these song - btw, 'unlimited' meaning as much as they want. This term is sneaky.
What about on your mobile, there goes your data!

I wouldn't waste my data to listen to one song when I could use the same data to save the song (dwnload) and play it as many times as I want later...COMPLETE RUBBISH

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