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Sony Launches Music-Streaming Service In U.S.

2/17/2011 01:50:13 PM Eastern
Foster City, Calif. - Sony will turn on its subscription-based music-streaming service today at 3 p.m. PST in the U.S., where consumers can play the music through 2010 and 2011 network-connected Sony TVs, Blu-ray players, HTiB systems and PlayStation3 game consoles as well as through any PC.

The company promises to make the customizable Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity service available on a wide range of portable devices, including Sony's PlayStation Portable, Android-based smartphones from Sony and other brands, Apple's iOS handheld devices, and possibly Wi-Fi-connected Sony MP3 players, a spokesman told TWICE. A timetable for those additions hasn't been set, but the spokesman called the rollout "a priority."

The service, already available in multiple countries, has licensed more than 6 million songs worldwide from the big four music labels and independents, with more to come, Sony said. The number of songs accessible by U.S. consumers wasn't available as of this post.

 From all compatible CE and portable devices, consumers will also be able to use the Qriocity user interface to stream music files and playlists stored on networked PCs' media players, including iTunes. The songs won't stream directly from the PC to the devices; instead, the songs will stream from the Qriocity cloud-based server once the service has analyzed the PC's music content. One caveat is that to be streamed, the songs stored on the computer must lack DRM (digital rights management) restrictions, and the songs must be among the six million licensed by Qriocity, the spokesman explained.

The service offers two monthly subscription plans: Basic at $3.99/month and Premium at $9.99/month. Both deliver customized experiences because the service studies users' listening habits, responds to 'like/dislike' song ratings, analyzes a home's existing music collection, and the like, Sony said. As a result, the service "adapts to users' music preferences and constantly tailors music channels to offer the most compatible and enjoyable list of songs," Sony noted.

The Basic plan, which includes unlimited forward skipping, lets users listen to dozens of ad-free personalized channels categorized by genre, era and mood, the latter via proprietary SensMe technology. SensMe lets users select a particular mood and uses 12-tone analysis to categorize music tracks by the selected mood.

The premium service adds the ability to select all songs on demand, create personal playlists and access 100 channels that are regularly updated with the latest hits.

 Last April, Sony launched Video On Demand powered by Qriocity in the U.S. for streaming through its devices.

 
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