Sony's Music Streaming Service Debuts in UK, Ireland

By FOXBusiness

Sony (NYSE:SNE) launched on Wednesday a new cloud-based digital music service that gives users access at any time to an initial portfolio of about six million songs from major record labels.

The service, called Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity, is debuting initially in the U.K. and Ireland and is set to expand to the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and New Zealand in 2011.

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Sony said users can listen to their favorite bands on Music Unlimited through 2010 models of network-enabled BRAVIA TV, Blu-ray Disc player, Blu-ray disc home theater system, Playstation 3 and PC’s. The service is also expected to be available on Sony portable devices and Android-based mobile devices.

Basic monthly Music Unlimited service costs 3.99 pounds in the U.K. and 3.99 euros in Ireland, while premium service costs 9.99 pounds in the U.K. and 9.99 euros in Ireland.

The launch comes after Sony debuted Video On Demand powered by Qriocity in April in the   U.S. That service allows customers to instantly rent from a library of thousands of movies on Sony products.

"Seamless accessibility to content through these fresh user experiences will enrich Sony's network service offerings and continually add value to the unique aspects of Sony's network-enabled products,” Kazuo Hirai, president of Sony’s networked products & services group, said in a statement.

Users can synchronize existing music files and playlists from other media players, including  Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes.

Omnifone, a provider of cloud-based unlimited music services, was contracted by Sony to coordinate content licensing, development and delivery of Music Unlimited.

Rob Lewis, executive chairman of Omnifone, said Music Unlimited “is designed to bring digital music into the homes and living rooms of consumers, as well as to PCs and portable devices, with every users' music experiences synchronized automatically across their devices without needing to manage media files."

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