On the same day Apple displays its digital music dominance, an electronics rival says it'll offer streaming music over the Net.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertiseprocessors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, scienceCredentials
I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
BERLIN--Sony announced a new service Monday called Music Unlimited that will turn many of its electronics products into online libraries for streaming music.
"It is a cloud-based digital music streaming service that gives music lovers access to millions of tracks stored and synced with your devices," said Fujio Nishida, president of Sony Europe, at a press event here. The service "will be going live by the end of the year," he said.
Music Unlimited joins the already available video-on-demand service of Sony's Qriocity service, which now sports a two-part tagline: "Music that follows you. Instant blockbuster movies."
Sony's service is very different from Connect and from Apple's approach, though. With iPods and iTunes, customers buy music online or copy it from CDs and store it on their iPods, iPhones, iPads, and in their iTunes libraries. And of course, it includes video as well.
It's a device-centric approach so far, Apple's LaLa acquisition notwithstanding, and it's proved successful: Through it, 12 billion songs, 450 million TV shows, 100 million movies, and 35 million books have been downloaded so far, Apple said Wednesday.
With Sony's Qriocity services, though, the music and video lives in the cloud, a dramatically different model.
First views of Sony streaming music service (images)
With it, the music is sent over the network to a variety of devices: Sony's TVs, Blu-ray players, PS3 game consoles, and Windows PCs.
What about portable media players to answer the iPod? "It will increasingly become available on range of portable devices of the future," Nishida said.
Streaming audio over the Net is fine for broadband connections, but portable devices don't always have them, and when they do, data subscription plans can impose limits. However, mobile devices will be able to cache data on their own storage systems, said Chris Thielbar, manager of product planning for Sony's network services.
Some details are unclear still, including pricing and the range of music that'll be available. Sony still is negotiating with labels, Thielbar said.
Nishida promised a "huge libarary of music tracks in the cloud," though. In addition, Qriocity "will become a platform for a wide range of third-party service providers who can make the entertainment experience compelling and entertaining," he said.
In demonstrations of the service at the press event, a remote control could be used to select music, including selecting various genres such as classical and alternative; eras divided by decade; "premium" content; and music delivered by Sony's SenseMe technology to pick music based on a person's mood.
Users will be able to "discover music through channels personalized to their tastes," he added. "There's no need to manage music files. Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity will change the way we all enjoy our music."