The 1980s marked the beginning of the Walkman era, Sony’s incredibly successful personal music player that sold over 200 million units. But the company was slow to react when MP3s became popular, and failed to capitalize on their dominance of the market. Apple, on the other hand, saw the opportunity, released the iPod and quickly gobbled up the entire market. And, with the iPod, they brought iTunes – the largest digital store for music in the world – which helped kick-start Apple’s meteoric rise to become the biggest technology company in the world. Sony never lived it down.
In 2010 Sony announced their iTunes (as well as Amazon, Spotify, Samsung, Microsoft and more) competitor – Music Unlimited, at the time called Qriocity. The service is a cloud-based on-demand music streaming service with a million users and 15 million songs as of January. Users pay a monthly or yearly subscription to listen to this ‘unlimited’ offering of music on their Android, iOS, PS3, Vita, PSP, PC or Sony internet-enabled TV, but lose the songs if they stop subscribing.
While the service generally does what it says on the tin (except for the time it was down alongside the PSN hack), the incredibly strong competition from fierce rivals as well as resistance from those who prefer to download music has stopped Music Unlimited from matching the size of some of the giants in the music distribution industry. But Sony hopes to bolster their subscription numbers with a significant price cut to the annual service in Europe.
Usually £119.88/€119.88/1079.88 Kr/AU$143.88, MU for a year will cost £59.99/€59.99/539.99 Kr/AU$71.99 for normal PSN users from now until December 31st. If you’re a PS+ subscriber, that costs drops further to £11.99/€11.99/107.99 Kr/AU$13.99. Update: The US has also seen a price cut to $12 for PS+, $59.99 for normal PSN users, down from $119.
The fine print notes that after 100,000 subscriptions from PlayStation Plus users they may bring the deal to an end, showing that it’s almost definitely going to make Sony a loss (that they hope to recoup with the publicity and continued subscriptions). Clearly, Sony is trying to increase the number of people invested in their ecosystem – an area in which the entertainment industry is viciously battling over.
Are you planning to take advantage of this deal? Or are you already signed up to a different ecosystem? Let us know in the comments below.
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