Sony Joins the Music Fray, Not Music's The Fray
Sony has just launched their Music Unlimited app in the Android Market which aims to compete with Google Music, Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud Player, Microsoft Zune Pass and countless streaming radio services. The service allows people to stream music they own and any song available from Sony's Qriocity catalogue of seven million songs for $10/month.
Sony's service is available at two price points, $4 and $10. The $4/month service scans your library for songs and allows you to stream all of it from the web to any Android device. For $10 you get the same service plus access to the entire Qriocity catalogue which has music from all four major music labels. Both services include an Internet-radio service similar to Pandora.
The only question is how does it stack up to the competition? Compare it to Microsoft's Zune Pass service which costs $15/month and includes streaming access to the entire catalogue. But, it also includes 10 free songs that you own every month, thus mitigating some of the higher cost. Compare it to Apple's iCloud service which allows you to scan your computer for songs and play them back for $25/year, much less than the $48 it would cost with Sony's plan. Amazon gives you 5GB of online storage for free and any song purchased from now on from Amazon's MP3 store is added to your library automatically. And then there is Google. 20,000 songs of free storage, at least for now, but you have to go through the time-consuming process of uploading all your tunes—and Google still hasn’t fully opened up the service to the public.
It's not that Sony has come up with a bad service; it just doesn't clearly beat the competition in any meaningful way, which might doom the service to obscurity before it ever had a chance.
Sony's offering a free 30-day trial with the Music Unlimited app which is available on the Android Market, but just for US users.