Sony ‘digital jukebox’ streams into U.S. homes

By Reuters
Posted Feb. 17 at 1:32 p.m.

Sony Corp. is betting on being able to bring music to consumers’ living rooms by offering millions of songs through a digital jukebox connected to popular devices such as TV sets and games consoles.

The new service called Music Unlimited Powered By Qriocity was launched in the United States Thursday, offering 6 million songs on demand through the cloud-based network that 60 million Sony PlayStation gamers use to play video games online.

Qriocity competes with Apple Inc.’s iTunes Music Store, but unlike iTunes Qriocity will offer a monthly subscription music streaming service rather than songs for downloading.

Qriocity features music from all the major labels including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music, Warner Music Group and EMI Group. It debuted in the UK in December, and also available in Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Canada.

The digital music service is the latest to offer unlimited song streaming for a monthly subscription fee rather than having users download song files to their PCs or phones through stores such as iTunes and’s MP3 store.

For $3.99 a month, Qriocity subscribers get a radio-like service that  lets them select the music genre or artist — similar to a premium offering by Pandora Inc,. the Internet radio service company that filed for a $100 million public offering last week.

For $9.99 a month, users can choose any song they want to listen to. The service joins an increasingly crowded market with offerings from digital music start-ups including Rhapsody, Rdio and MOG.

But while other music services have been quick to add mobile features, Qriocity’s focus is living rooms as Sony attempts to build on its core strength in consumer electronic devices such as Bravia TV sets, Blu-ray Disc players and PlayStation 3 game consoles.

One of Sony’s most successful devices was the portable Walkman cassette player, which sold hundreds of millions units. But the company has ceded control of that sector to Apple’s hugely popular iPod in the last decade.

Sony Network Entertainment President Tim Schaaf said its next priority will be a mobile offering of Qriocity, including on phones using Google Inc.’s Android-operating system and other portable devices.

Sony also offers thousands of movies and TV shows on demand through the network.


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