Apple’s got now serious reasons to feel threatened by a sound competitor, as Sony is about to continue in the US, Australia and New Zeeland what has started in Europe a few months ago: launching its new streaming service. There are also rumours of Sony restricting its content from being released via iTunes, which will be a major blow for Apple. Yet, Shawn Layden Sony chief operating officer tried to calm things down saying that “Sony has no intention of withdrawing from iTunes, they’re one of our biggest partners in the digital domain.” Given the history of the complicated relationship between Sony and Apple, we are not too convinced of Layden’s statement.
The new streaming service, Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity, will encompass over 6 million songs that will be accessible to users on a subscription. Songs cost around $2, albums between $15 and $20, with a monthly subscription offer of unlimited access to the Sony library for $12.99. Users can personalize the service and create playlists, the music services from Sony being very client oriented.
“By combining real choice and convenience, a fully integrated entertainment experience and global reach Music Unlimited provides a compelling new way for fans to connect,” says Rob Wells, president of global digital business at Sony subsidiary Universal Music Groups.
One major setback of this streaming service is the fact that it is limited to Sony-related devices, such as Sony Playstations and Sony Blu-ray players, making the service too similar to what Pandora and Napster have to offer, both of them being free.
As the song goes, money is too tight to mention, and Apple is money-driven as well. Recently, they announced the introduction of a subscription-based plan so that publishing companies would not avoid anymore the 30% share owed to Apple.
“Our philosophy is simple—when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing,” Steve Jobs said.
Streaming services are very popular in the music industry at the moment and the latest news comes from Spotify that signed a deal with EMI, after having previously partnered with Sony for the same plan. By the end of this month, Google is also expected to launch its own music service, One Pass, with the Honeycomb OS, a perfect timing given Apple’s latest behavior.
The secret of the future of music lies in the ‘cloud’ as music consumer now leave behind CDs, DVDs as it is more convenient and comfortable to sign up for a subscription and stream at free will music of all genres only by connecting to the internet. Spotify is the perfect example, as the Swedish company has already taken the industry by storm.