Sony’s Music Unlimited service debuted in the United States in December 2010, but as we know the equivalent services take a more languid in Canada. This is due to the restrictive and often expensive content licensing laws our government employs to ensure copyright holders receive their fair share of royalty payments.
Sony Entertainment Network, the new umbrella name for all previous Sony content, offers over 15 million licensed songs from all the major labels, plus “leading independent labels, and major publishers worldwide.” For $9.99/month, the Premium plan gives access to premium channels and on-demand songs and albums, including offline listening capabilities. The cheaper $3.99/month Basic plan allows radio-like music streaming with no on-demand access, but both choices are commercial-free. The premium channels are catered to your music tastes, so the more music you listen to, the better Music Unlimited gets at finding music you’d like.
Sony says, “Through a single account, users can sign-in and access the Music Unlimited service on numerous connected devices including any PC, Android™ mobile devices including Sony Xperia™ handsets, as well as 2010, 2011, 2012, and future models of Sony BRAVIA® HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc™ players, Blu-ray Disc™ Home Theatre Systems, as well as PlayStation®3 (PS3™), and PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita). The Music Unlimited service is also coming soon to other Canadian devices including PSP® (PlayStation®Portable), Sony Tablet, and Sony Walkman®.”
One very cool feature is called Music Sync, a service much like iTunes Match, which matches songs and playlists to the cloud and allows access throughout the entire SEN ecosystem. We’re not sure whether there is a limit to the number of songs, but we’d imagine it would be the same or less than Apple’s 25,000 song limit. This is only currently available for Windows computers, unfortunately.
The company is also using some smart algorithms to determine songs and albums to recommend: “By studying users’ listening habits, incorporating their ‘like/dislike’ song ratings, analyzing their existing music collections and more, the Music Unlimited service adapts to users’ music preferences and constantly tailors music channels to offer the most compatible and enjoyable list of songs. The more a user listens, the more uniquely personalized the music channels become.”
Sony is entering a small but competitive market in Canada, going head to head with services like Rdio, Slacker and even iTunes. The advantage of the first two services is that they are available across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. iTunes, of course, is the major player in the market, which offers its iTunes Match service at $27.99/year but has no monthly streaming option.
While the service is not yet available on the Tablet S, you can access it today on any Xperia device, as well as the PS Vita.
Android users can download the Music Unlimited app on devices running Android 2.1-2.3. You can try the Premium version of Music Unlimited free for 30 days, so check it out.