Just getting used to Spotify? Finally getting your Pandora channels in order? Comfortable with your Rdio playlists? Because you’re about to have yet another option for all your mobile music-streaming needs.
Sony plans to bring its streaming music service, called Music Unlimited, to Apple’s iOS mobile platform during the first quarter of 2012 (which is now-ish), according to a story from VentureBeat. When the service finally shows up, it’ll be the first time Sony has made it available to owners of Apple’s mobile devices, even though PC users and owners of Google’s Android smartphones and tablets have enjoyed the service for some time.
The confirmation that Sony is bringing Music Unlimited to iOS comes from the head of Sony Entertainment Network, Tom Schaaff, who announced the app at a media gathering at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It’ll be a subscription service, like Spotify and Rdio, and offer similar features, such as offline caching, which allows users to access tracks they’ve marked for offline use even when they’re not connected to the Internet. Otherwise, an Internet connection is necessary to do the streaming.
Schaaff said Sony is hoping to establish a niche for Music Unlimited among users who haven’t already picked a cloud music service, rather than try to go after customers who have already adopted Pandora, Spotify or Rdio as their alternatives. The company will also be looking to leverage its existing retail business and its presence abroad to spread the service to multiple markets. Schaaff didn’t say much about why customers might opt for Sony over its competitors, though.
But Sony isn’t coming out of nowhere with Music Unlimited, even though it hasn’t been established on iOS yet. The subscription service already carries 1 million subscribers, Schaaff said, and the app will expand the services afforded to people who are already subscribers, giving them good reason to stick with Sony for the long haul for their music needs.
Also at CES, Sony announced its first Android-powered Walkman, and while reporters asked if the days of the now-digital music device are numbered, Schaaff said only that Sony would stop making its Walkman line when people stop buying them. Apple has certainly found success in making devices and pushing content for them, so Sony might not necessarily need to get out of the game just yet.
But as with the Android Walkman, Sony seems a bit late to the party with Music Unlimited. We’ll have to wait and see how it approaches the iTunes App Store, and how the well-known media and electronics company works to stay competitive with the other similar services available.