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Sony rolls out music-streaming service

Company has unleashed Music Unlimited to consumers in the U.K. It plans to offer the streaming-music service in other countries next year.

Sony showing off Music Unlimited at the IFA electronics show in Berlin in September.
Sony shows off Music Unlimited at the IFA electronics show in Berlin in September. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sony has launched its music-streaming service in the U.K. and Ireland, the company announced today.

Dubbed Music Unlimited, the service offers 6 million songs from top labels, including Universal, Warner Music Group, EMI, and, as one might expect, Sony Music Entertainment. It also boasts tracks from independent labels.

The focus of Music Unlimited is to deliver that content to a variety of devices. At launch, the service works with 2010 models of Sony's HDTVs, Blu-ray players, home theater systems, PlayStation 3 consoles, and PCs. The company plans to release it to Sony portable products and Android-based devices at some point in the future.

To use Music Unlimited, customers will be charged 3.99 pounds (about $6) per month for basic service or 9.99 pounds (about $15) a month for the premium version. Like Pandora, Music Unlimited lets people say whether they like a track or not. Based on those responses, the service tailors the upcoming playlist to make it more appealing to the respective user's musical tastes. Sony also said that people can have an "unlimited" number of song skips on the ad-free service.

Sony unveiled its streaming-service plans in September. Since then, the company has been ironing out the details and negotiating with labels to see the launch through. It should be interesting to see how Music Unlimited fares with so many other options available to consumers.

Apple's iTunes platform is the go-to place for millions across the globe to get content onto their iPods, iPhones, computers, and Apple TV devices. It's flanked by Amazon's MP3 store and other competitors. In the streaming space, Sony is facing off against services like Pandora, which have an entrenched user base. And like Music Unlimited, Pandora is available on several devices, including several HDTVs, the Roku set-top box, and others.

Sony plans to roll out Music Unlimited to other countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Australia, at some point in 2011.