Music Unlimited, powered by Qriocity, is a cloud-based music service by Sony that allows consumers to access millions of songs for a small subscription fee. Major labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music as well as leading independent labels and major publishers worldwide are on board for a combined initial offering of over six million songs (with promise to expand over time).
Content can be played on a variety of devices, including “Sony’s 2010 (and surely 2011) models of network-enabled BRAVIA TV, Blu-ray Disc player, Blu-ray Disc Home Theater system, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system as well as VAIO and other personal computers. It will also become available on a wide range of Sony’s portable devices, as well as on Android-based mobile devices and other portable devices.”
Music Unlimited sure seems like an interesting alternative to Pandora and other streaming solutions, but then again it isn’t free. Hard to tell if it can beat my trusty Wunderradio, though.
Prices are reasonable, coming in with Basic (￡3.99 in the U.K. and 3.99 Euros in Ireland) and Premium (￡9.99 in the U.K. and 9.99 Euros in Ireland) options. There’s a load of features in the premium service, such as Top 100 channels for many genres, personal playlists, ability to listen to songs on-demand, and more. It also adapts to your listening habits and offers better music through analyzing your collection, ratings, and so forth.
The service is currently only available in the UK and Ireland, but will come to the USA, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and New Zealand “during 2011.” I would image it will be all over CES 2011.
We have some high resolution screenshots of Qriocity Music Unlimited courtesy of Sony global press. I think the images are worth looking at (in addition to our initial coverage of the Music Unlimited launch) and show how the service looks on the PS3, BRAVIA devices, and even the player built on their website, music.qriocity.com.
The Music Unlimited interface for web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc) look pretty polished for its first version. You can see here in the channel view a rather coherant interface. Controls are at the top, including repeat or random options, and the ability to like/dislike. I would like to see larger, easier to use like/dislike buttons. Other controls include volume, search, previous track, next track and pause. Below that is the album art, and recommendations as well as Music Sync, which allows you to add your music collection and listen across all supported devices. Nice.
Then we have the channel listing itself, where you see a varity of genres, including tabs for premium, genre, SensMe, and Era. I love the option of Era, that means you will see channels such as 1940, 1950, 1960, etc..
Then there is the interface for BRAVIA products such as TV’s, Blu-ray players, home theater systems, etc which is not as glamorous as the PS3 version, but is functional across the board. The interface is consistent with the Qriocity Video service. I like the “How It Works” touch..
The channel listing in Music Unlimited for BRAVIA Devices.
Here is a stunning (and resized) 1080P grab of Music Unlimited’s album view for PS3, which is also displaying high resolution album covers and an excellent looking, easy to use interface. This would be nice to have on for a party.
The following image is a taste of the menus in Music Unlimited full of gloss and reflection in the PS3 version.
The Music Unlimited channel selection screen on the PS3, showing many genres. We can see already thatt they will have Jazz, Rock, Dance & House, Pop, Latin, Blues, Punk, Electronic, Alternative, Rap, R&B, Reggae, Classical, and New Age just like the website.