Sony to close down its Music Unlimited streaming service, Spotify will pick up the slack

Sony to close down its Music Unlimited streaming service, Spotify will pick up the slack
Seeing that Sony operates the world’s second largest record label and other major music publishing businesses, it is a remarkable turn of events to see the company announce that its separately operated streaming music service, called Music Unlimited, will shut down at the end of March.

The $10-per-month subscription service is one of the largest in operating in Japan, and has been available in the United States for four years. Music Unlimited is integrated with a number of Sony products like PlayStation, and Xperia smartphones.

Once the month of March passes, Music Unlimited subscriptions will not renew, and the service will go silent. In its place, Spotify will be the streaming music content for Sony products. Sony did not state how many subscribers would be affected by this move, but the grapevine is saying the paid subscriber base was just over 100,000 users.

At $10-per-month, and with access to pretty much the same 30 million title library as Google Play All Access, Apple’s Beats Music, Spotify, Slacker, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Deezer, Sony’s Music Unlimited did little to stand out from the crowded music streaming market.

Spotify is the biggest of the bunch with about 15 million paid subscribers, and another 45 million free users. It will feed to Sony’s PlayStation consoles, and be available on Xperia devices. The service will be renamed PlayStation Music. Oddly, Spotify itself is not available in Japan, and Sony has not yet announced what will provide the content for its home market.

This is not the first paring down and consolidation for the streaming music industry, AT&T’s Cricket had a service called Muve which was acquired by France’s Deezer. Deezer is currently not available in the US, and Muve will go dark on February 7th.

Sony arguably made a good move all things considered, and Music Unlimited’s chief, Michael Aragon said in 2012, “It’s going to be a brutal business and there’s probably going to be some consolidation. We all have the same content, we all have the same deals.”

It is not known how big a boost it will give Spotify, the company’s CEO Daniel Elk says it looks like there is quite a bit of overlap between Spotify customers and a large portion of the 64 million PlayStation and other Sony users.

source: The Wall Street Journal
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