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Thursday, December 23, 2010
Sony Debuts Subscription Music Streaming Service

Sony today announced the launch of "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity," a new, cloud-based, digital music service, in a bid to boost sales of its consumer electronics and break Apple's dominance of the online music business.

The service gives music lovers access to songs from major labels including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music as well as leading independent labels and major publishers worldwide. The "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" catalogue will initially offer about six million songs and will continue to expand over time, Sony said.

Through "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity," users can play music any time on a wide variety of Internet-connected Sony devices including Sony's 2010 models of network-enabled BRAVIA TV, Blu-ray Disc player, Blu-ray Disc Home Theater system, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system as well as VAIO and other personal computers. It will also become available on a wide range of Sony's portable devices, as well as on Android-based mobile devices and other portable devices.

"Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" is initially available in the U.K. and Ireland with service availability in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and U.S. to be announced in due course during 2011.

"Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" is the next extension of services 'powered by Qriocity.' Sony debuted "Video On Demand powered by Qriocity," a premium video streaming service, in the U.S. in April 2010 and expanded the service to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. in November 2010. Through "Video on Demand powered by Qriocity" users can instantly rent from a growing library of thousands of Hollywood blockbuster movies across Sony's 2010 models of network-enabled BRAVIA TV, Blu-ray Disc player and Blu-ray Disc Home Theater system.

"As we continue to expand Qriocity globally, these services 'powered by Qriocity' offer a single ID log-in and wallet solution, and empower users to easily consume content including music and video across a growing number of integrated devices," said Kazuo Hirai, President of Networked Products & Services Group, Sony Corporation. "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."

Sony has developed "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" in partnership with Omnifone, a provider of cloud-based unlimited music services, with Omnifone contracted by Sony to coordinate content licensing as well as development and delivery of the service, leveraging its existing expertise in the music industry.

With Basic (£s;3.99 in the U.K. and 3.99 Euros in Ireland) and Premium (£s;9.99 in the U.K. and 9.99 Euros in Ireland) monthly subscription plans, "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" offers breadth of content and easy music discovery, features cited as most important by music enthusiasts.

Unlike many other popular music services, the basic plan permits unlimited forward skipping of the songs to ensure users discover music they want to hear. With access to an expanding catalogue of about six million songs, the basic plan works as an infinite ad-free radio station and subscribers can listen to dozens of personalized channels - categorized by genre, era as well as mood through SensMe - without the requirement to download or manage their music files.

Additionally, the premium subscription plan offers a one time 30 day Premium free trial enabling users to listen in full to every song on demand, create personal playlists of favorites, and gain access to premium Top 100 channels which are regularly updated with the latest hits.

By studying users' listening habits, incorporating their 'like/dislike' song ratings, analyzing their existing music collections and more, "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" adapts to users' music preferences and constantly tailors music channels to offer the most compatible and enjoyable list of songs.

Furthermore, users can also synchronize their existing music files and playlists from other media players including iTunes into "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity," and enjoy their existing music at any time across all compatible devices.

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