Sony's Music Service Puts The Pressure On Google

Sony PlayStation Phone

Photo: Sony Ericsson

Sony’s subscription music service is finally coming to mobile phones, filling a big gap versus services like Rhapsody, Rdio, and (in Europe) Spotify.It should also provide welcome competition to Google’s own music service by giving users access to their music collection from any Android device.

The unfortunately named Music Unlimited by Qriocity (pronounced “curiosity”) service launched last year overseas and in February in the U.S., but it was kind of a dud: mainly because it was only available on PCs and Sony electronic devices like the PlayStation 3 and various TVs.

But starting today, a Music Unlimited app is available in the Android Marketplace, and will work on all mobile phones running Android 2.1 and later (not just Sony Ericsson phones, which would be silly).

The service comes in two tiers. The Basic level, at $3.99 a month offers Internet radio (think Pandora) plus a scan-and-match service that scans your existing collection and then lets you listen to those songs on any compatible device, without having to upload songs. (That part is like the iTunes Match service Apple announced last week but won’t release until this fall.)

The premium service at $9.99 a month adds on-demand playback of the seven million songs in Sony’s Qriocity library — which includes tunes from all four major labels, not just Sony.

The service has the potential to make the Google Music product look out of date and incomplete. It could increase pressure on Google to work out deals with the record labels so that it can offer a comparable service of its own.

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